◊ Horn Affections ◊

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Etiology: -

The most probable cause of separation of the horn is the direct violence like during fighting or trauma against the wall. Another cause of such affection is the repeated slight injury or neglected injuries at the base of the horn leading to chronic inflammation of the keratogenous membrane at the base of the horn, therefore the sheath becomes loose and easily detached. This affection has good prognosis and the lost horn can regenerate over a long period.

Treatment: -

This affection can be treated medically by cleaning the exposed core with antiseptic solution, with application of topical antibiotic ointment and horn bandage, and flies repellent if necessary. The surgical treatment involves surgical amputation of the horn or even both horns.


Etiology: -

The causes of fracture of the horn are the same like separation of the horn sheath. The fracture may be complete or partial, and it may involve the tip, the middle or the distal third of the horn.

Treatment: -

1-Incomplete Fracture

The fractured horn is fixed by a splint, which is tied to the other horn by a rope or wire.

2-Complete Fracture

The completely fractured horn can be treated surgically by partial amputation by sawing and a bandage is applied to the remaining healthy part, otherwise, complete amputation of the affected horn or both horns is performed.


It is an affection that is more frequent in small ruminants than large ruminants, and is characterized by overgrowth of the horn in curved manner that it can reach the skin of the head and penetrate it leading to many complications.

Treatment: -

Treatment is directed toward partial or complete amputation of the horns.


Cattle are polled so that they can’t gore one another and are less dangerous to be handled, so if it is preferred to disbud calves rather than waiting until they are adult and then dehorn them. The process of disbudding should be done during the first 5-10 days of life. This process can be performed either by injection of caustic substance (concentrated solution of calcium chloride) subcutaneously at the budding site, or by surgical removal of the horn buds by disbudding iron under the effect of local analgesia.

The disbudding iron is heated by gas or electricity; its head is made of copper to retain the heat; and its end is hollowed out to form a dome-shaped depression of 12 mm diameter, 8 mm depth, and 3 mm rim thickness. This method has many advantages like controllable hemorrhage, no need for post-operation dressing, and healing is completed within 10-14 days with no or minimal scar. This method is suitable for calves that didn’t grow horns, but once the horn grows, disbudding is no longer possible and it can be removed by special forceps with cutting of the skin around the base of the horn.


Dehorning of the adult cattle can be performed on standing position by using  corneal nerve block and sedation, bleeding can be controlled by applying a rope around the base of the two horns. The horn can be removed by hack saw or embryotomy wire. It is essential to remove the horn with 1.5 cm of skin around the base to ensure that the corium is removed and to prevent development of any stumps of distorted horns