Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Caustic burn

Synonym(s): Chemical burn

Contributor(s): Mo Kemp , Lisa Whitfield

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Introduction

  • Cause: chemical damage to skin from disbudding paste or other chemical irritant.
  • Signs: skin irritation.
  • Diagnosis: history of contact with chemical irritant.
  • Treatment: protect from further damage and assess for secondary bacterial infection.
  • Prognosis: good.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Chemical damage to skin by contact from caustic disbudding paste, can be due to:
    • Over-application of the paste.
    • Failure to apply protective Vaseline/petroleum jelly on surrounding skin.
    • Failure to keep the calf separate from other calves and/or dam for at least half an hour following application of the paste.
    • Failure to keep the calf inside or away from rain/wet for at least 1.5 h after application of the paste.

Pathophysiology

  • Caustic substance in disbudding paste causes damage to the skin cells while the chemical is in contract with the skin.
  • The active ingredient in disbudding pastes are either sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) or potassium hydroxide (caustic potash) or calcium hydroxide.

Timecourse

  • Chemical damage occurs rapidly following direct contact with the caustic disbudding paste and persists while the chemical is in contact with the skin.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Vickers K J, Niel L, Kiehlbauch L M & Weary D M (2005) Calf response to caustic paste and hot-iron dehorning using sedation with and without local anesthetic. J Dairy Sci 88 (4), 1454-1459 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Dehorning.com - A science-based resource for information, research and trends in cattle dehorning. Website: www.dehorning.com. Last accessed 13th October 2017.
  • Hornex datasheet.


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