Kansas State University was awarded a U.S. patent for technology that improves the health and welfare of beef cattle and other ruminant animals suffering from lameness and following castration, dehorning and other necessary management procedures.

U.S. Patent No. 8,791,105, “Methods for Alleviating Chronic Pain and Improving Performance of Cattle Undergoing Dehorning or Castration,” was given to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, which is a nonprofit corporation responsible for managing technology transfer activities at the university.

The patent is for research conducted by former faculty member Hans Coetzee, along with Butch Kukanich, associate professor of anatomy and physiology at Kansas State University, conducted while at Kansas State University. Coetzee is now a professor of clinical pharmacology at Iowa State University.

The patent covers administering meloxicam alone or in conjunction with gabapentin to help with acute and chronic pain and to improve the cattle’s performance.

Researchers found that meloxicam combined with gabapentin improved the cattle’s welfare by reducing the severity of lameness. Alone, meloxicam improved weight gain after dehorning. It also reduced the incidence of bovine respiratory disease after castration, according to a news release.

"Once meloxicam was orally administered to beef cattle prior to these common procedures, the cattle gained more weight and had slower incidence of bovine respiratory disease because it allowed them to be more comfortable and less stressed," Kukanich said in the release.

One significant benefit of the medications is that it reduces the reliance on antibiotics to treat and control diseases in cattle, which, in turn, reduces the risk of antibiotic resistance selection. It has positive implications for both human and animal health.

The patent is available to license.