Effect of meloxicam administration after calving on milk production, acute phase proteins, and behavior in dairy cows

Eva Mainau, Anna Cuevas, José Luis Ruiz-de-la-Torre, Elke Abbeloos, Xavier Manteca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Calving is an intrinsically risky process that can cause welfare and economic problems. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug meloxicam on various physiological and behavioral measures which can be related to pain in cattle. Sixty Friesian dairy cows from first to sixth parity were studied around calving and were randomly allocated into 2 homogeneous groups relative to parity and treated with either meloxicam or a placebo after calving. Treatments were administered on average 3.4 hours after calving, within a maximum of 6 hours. Calf positions at calving and calving assistance (unassisted or easy manual pull) were recorded. Milk production, rectal temperature, and activity (calculated as the number of steps per hour) were measured on each cow. From a subsample of 20 cows, haptoglobin (Hp) and serum amyloid A (SAA) concentrations were also obtained. The following behaviors were observed on video recordings: Posture, changing posture, location of cow in pen, feeding, and tail up behaviors 2 days before and after calving. Statistical analysis was carried out with the SAS software using MIXED or GENMOD procedures. Most variables showed a parity and/or time effect around calving. This study did not demonstrate any significant effect of meloxicam on milk production or on acute phase responses of Hp and SAA. However, postcalving activity was significantly increased in meloxicam-treated heifers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-363
JournalJournal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Animal welfare
  • behavior
  • calving
  • cows
  • meloxicam
  • physiology


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