Ph: (530) 574-6759
Ph.D., Animal Behavior, University of California, Davis, California, (in progress).
M.S., Cognitive and Behavioral Ecology, Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland, 2014.
B.S., Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, 2012.
My research explores long-term pain associated with hot-iron disbudding, a routine husbandry procedure performed in dairy calves to prevent horn growth. Studies have focused on the immediate pain in the hours following the procedure, but it is unknown how long the wounds take to heal and whether pain is present during healing. I will evaluate wound sensitivity, as well as the occurrence of spontaneous pain (pain in the absence of any stimulation) and changes in emotional states, during and after healing.
In addition to understanding long-term pain following disbudding, information is needed on strategies to hasten healing. It is recommended to disbud at the earliest age possible, as less tissue is damaged and growth occurs most rapidly in the first few weeks of life. However, performing procedures on newborns may lead to increased sensitization to painful stimuli later in life. I am interested in comparing the welfare implications of disbudding on newborn calves vs the industry-typical age of ~2 months.