Application of pain relief for tail docking
Tail docking may be performed by a sharp knife (cold knife), a heated cautery docking iron (hot iron docking) or use of a rubber ring (ring docking), with the latter resulting in ischaemic necrosis as the tail falls off 2–4 weeks post ring application. Hot iron docking is considered less stressful than cold knife, with ring docking being intermediate.
Behavioural responses to hot iron docking have been shown to be lessened by local anaesthetic.
There is no specific work looking just at tail docking, as it usually occurs in conjunction with castration and mulesing, although Tri-Solfen does not appear to be as effective on the cauterised tail as it is with surgical castration and mulesing.