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Document created: May 2022
Author: Gemma May
Approved by: Ian Roper
Freeze Branding
Protocol for Vet Techs
The purpose of this protocol is to allow the vet tech to carry out freeze branding for the purpose of
animal identification, to a high standard and while maintaining the health and safety of themselves,
the animal, farm employees and any other persons present.
Species covered: Cattle/ Calves
Health and safety: The vet tech will work in accordance with the health and safety policy.
When performing a dynamic risk assessment, it is at the vet techs discretion to not continue
if there are significant risks to the health and safety of themselves, the animals, the farm
employees or public.
The vet tech;
must use any equipment available that is designed to reduce risks while performing the task
in hand, provided it is well maintained, in good working order and fit for purpose.
must be able to use the handling and other safety equipment provided; must be aware of
the dangers when handling cattle and be directly and continuously supervised until they are
competent.
Must be able to work calmly with the animals, without displaying impatience, or utilising
unnecessary force.
Must be in good health and properly trained in safe working methods.
VetPartners Documents relating to this policy.
Cattle handling risk assessment
Cattle handling guidance
Health and Safety policy statement
Accident reporting category guidance
Biosecurity in practice
Document created: May 2022
Author: Gemma May
Approved by: Ian Roper
Restraint: Cattle crushes and a race and gate system must be used for all cattle. A Bar either
side application or swing down can be put in place behind their back legs to prevent the
animal from moving backwards. The vet techs may use an oral distractor (cudder), a metal
hook shape device that is placed in the cheek cavity of the cow to stimulate a chewing
motion, this helps to distract the animal from what is happening and keeps them calmer.
Technique:
For black branding surface – if the skin is dark and looks a good colour hold the irons in
place for 48 seconds.
For brown branding surface- At times brown cows such as jerseys and brown Swiss could be
dark enough for 48 or light enough for double the vet tech will make this decision at the
time.
For white branding surface- hold the irons in place for 96 seconds
Preparation - While still in the bag use the mallet to smash up the blocks of dry ice until they
are more like lumps and shards of ice. Approximately 5 litres of alcohol and 10kgs of dry ice
should do anything from 20 to 40 cows depending on conditions. When working on many
animals and when it is likely to take all day, then 20 – 40kg of dry ice will be needed. Using
denatured isopropyl alcohol with a high purity level is of utmost importance to prevent
freezing and a build-up of slush. 99% pure denatured alcohol works better, anything less
than 96% purity is not suitable. It may also be necessary to drain the used alcohol and
replacing it with fresh alcohol after several hours of use especially on humid days.
Ensure there is about two inches of crushed dry ice covering the bottom of the cool box.
Place irons in the cool box and pour in the alcohol to completely submerge the branding
ends of the irons and about two inches up the rod. The alcohol/ dry ice mixture will slowly
evaporate over time, so additional alcohol and dry ice will need to be added throughout the
day to keep the irons sufficiently submerged. The irons are ready to use once the dry ice and
alcohol mixture stops violently bubbling and frost builds up around the base of the irons, this
is usually about 15 to 20 minutes. The more irons to be cooled, the longer it can take. Having
two sets of irons should allow for a rotation of use, giving the second set a chance to cool
down again before another use, when irons are reused, make sure that they are cooled for
at least one to two minutes between use.
Clip – Once the area for the branding has been identified the vet tech will clip it to get rid of
dirty excess hair and to make the area clearly visible. A square area in the hair will be clipped
out, one that is large enough to accommodate the brands for a more even result. Use a cloth
or brush to remove any loose clipped hair.
Spray – Spray the area that you have clipped with a generous amount of the denatured
alcohol ensuring it is saturated. This will help transfer the cold temperature of the iron to
the area of skin you are branding.
Double check- Last thing before branding, double check the information of the animal
against the information of the brands, that you have the right number brands in the correct
Document created: May 2022
Author: Gemma May
Approved by: Ian Roper
order and up the correct way, this should always be done before making contact with the
animal.
Brand - Begin timing as soon as the irons make contact with the animal. Use significant
pressure to make sure that there is good contact for the entire surface of the iron. The
animal may jump soon after the brand contact. The extreme cold temperature usually
freezes the nerve endings after 10 seconds, and the animal will stop moving in most cases.
As the animal moves around, maintain contact in the same location, you may find gently
swaying in time with the animal helps keep that contact. Put a good bit of force behind the
iron by leaning into the iron to get good contact and prevent it from sliding around. If the
iron loses contact with the branding location on the animal, then reapply the iron to the
exact same location. An outline of the brand number should be visible to show where to
reapply the iron. Keep up with the amount of time the iron has been in direct contact with
the animal to get the full desired application time needed for a good brand.
Equipment required: 2 sets of 3” Branding irons, 82ltr cool box, oral distractor (cudder), timer, dirty
cow clippers, spray bottle containing denatured alcohol, head torch, mallet, dry ice, alcohol in
multiples of 5ltr’s and a cloth or brush.
PPE required: Waterproofs, suitable waterproof safety foot ware, workwear gloves (thicker than
latex to protect the hands from the branding solution)
Biosecurity measures: The vet tech will arrive on farm clean and presentable, carrying no soil,
organic matter or bodily fluids on their person or clothing from previous locations. After washing
their hands and arms they will wear gloves throughout the procedure. Once the procedure is
complete the vet tech will scrub down their hands and arms and disinfect their waterproofs and
boots using a 1 in 20 dilution rate of Fam 30 multi- purpose iodophor disinfectant.
Statement of competency: I …………………………………………… Veterinary surgeon, of Westpoint farm
vets, has deemed that ……………………………………. Vet tech is suitably competent to carry out this
procedure and confirm that observations have been made to support this conclusion. See separate
observation record.
Signed: Date:
I ………………………………… vet tech, of Westpoint farm vets, agree to adhere to the protocol written for
this procedure.
Signed: Date:
Review: Annually or if issues arise.

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Protocol - Freeze branding.docx

  • 1. Document created: May 2022 Author: Gemma May Approved by: Ian Roper Freeze Branding Protocol for Vet Techs The purpose of this protocol is to allow the vet tech to carry out freeze branding for the purpose of animal identification, to a high standard and while maintaining the health and safety of themselves, the animal, farm employees and any other persons present. Species covered: Cattle/ Calves Health and safety: The vet tech will work in accordance with the health and safety policy. When performing a dynamic risk assessment, it is at the vet techs discretion to not continue if there are significant risks to the health and safety of themselves, the animals, the farm employees or public. The vet tech; must use any equipment available that is designed to reduce risks while performing the task in hand, provided it is well maintained, in good working order and fit for purpose. must be able to use the handling and other safety equipment provided; must be aware of the dangers when handling cattle and be directly and continuously supervised until they are competent. Must be able to work calmly with the animals, without displaying impatience, or utilising unnecessary force. Must be in good health and properly trained in safe working methods. VetPartners Documents relating to this policy. Cattle handling risk assessment Cattle handling guidance Health and Safety policy statement Accident reporting category guidance Biosecurity in practice
  • 2. Document created: May 2022 Author: Gemma May Approved by: Ian Roper Restraint: Cattle crushes and a race and gate system must be used for all cattle. A Bar either side application or swing down can be put in place behind their back legs to prevent the animal from moving backwards. The vet techs may use an oral distractor (cudder), a metal hook shape device that is placed in the cheek cavity of the cow to stimulate a chewing motion, this helps to distract the animal from what is happening and keeps them calmer. Technique: For black branding surface – if the skin is dark and looks a good colour hold the irons in place for 48 seconds. For brown branding surface- At times brown cows such as jerseys and brown Swiss could be dark enough for 48 or light enough for double the vet tech will make this decision at the time. For white branding surface- hold the irons in place for 96 seconds Preparation - While still in the bag use the mallet to smash up the blocks of dry ice until they are more like lumps and shards of ice. Approximately 5 litres of alcohol and 10kgs of dry ice should do anything from 20 to 40 cows depending on conditions. When working on many animals and when it is likely to take all day, then 20 – 40kg of dry ice will be needed. Using denatured isopropyl alcohol with a high purity level is of utmost importance to prevent freezing and a build-up of slush. 99% pure denatured alcohol works better, anything less than 96% purity is not suitable. It may also be necessary to drain the used alcohol and replacing it with fresh alcohol after several hours of use especially on humid days. Ensure there is about two inches of crushed dry ice covering the bottom of the cool box. Place irons in the cool box and pour in the alcohol to completely submerge the branding ends of the irons and about two inches up the rod. The alcohol/ dry ice mixture will slowly evaporate over time, so additional alcohol and dry ice will need to be added throughout the day to keep the irons sufficiently submerged. The irons are ready to use once the dry ice and alcohol mixture stops violently bubbling and frost builds up around the base of the irons, this is usually about 15 to 20 minutes. The more irons to be cooled, the longer it can take. Having two sets of irons should allow for a rotation of use, giving the second set a chance to cool down again before another use, when irons are reused, make sure that they are cooled for at least one to two minutes between use. Clip – Once the area for the branding has been identified the vet tech will clip it to get rid of dirty excess hair and to make the area clearly visible. A square area in the hair will be clipped out, one that is large enough to accommodate the brands for a more even result. Use a cloth or brush to remove any loose clipped hair. Spray – Spray the area that you have clipped with a generous amount of the denatured alcohol ensuring it is saturated. This will help transfer the cold temperature of the iron to the area of skin you are branding. Double check- Last thing before branding, double check the information of the animal against the information of the brands, that you have the right number brands in the correct
  • 3. Document created: May 2022 Author: Gemma May Approved by: Ian Roper order and up the correct way, this should always be done before making contact with the animal. Brand - Begin timing as soon as the irons make contact with the animal. Use significant pressure to make sure that there is good contact for the entire surface of the iron. The animal may jump soon after the brand contact. The extreme cold temperature usually freezes the nerve endings after 10 seconds, and the animal will stop moving in most cases. As the animal moves around, maintain contact in the same location, you may find gently swaying in time with the animal helps keep that contact. Put a good bit of force behind the iron by leaning into the iron to get good contact and prevent it from sliding around. If the iron loses contact with the branding location on the animal, then reapply the iron to the exact same location. An outline of the brand number should be visible to show where to reapply the iron. Keep up with the amount of time the iron has been in direct contact with the animal to get the full desired application time needed for a good brand. Equipment required: 2 sets of 3” Branding irons, 82ltr cool box, oral distractor (cudder), timer, dirty cow clippers, spray bottle containing denatured alcohol, head torch, mallet, dry ice, alcohol in multiples of 5ltr’s and a cloth or brush. PPE required: Waterproofs, suitable waterproof safety foot ware, workwear gloves (thicker than latex to protect the hands from the branding solution) Biosecurity measures: The vet tech will arrive on farm clean and presentable, carrying no soil, organic matter or bodily fluids on their person or clothing from previous locations. After washing their hands and arms they will wear gloves throughout the procedure. Once the procedure is complete the vet tech will scrub down their hands and arms and disinfect their waterproofs and boots using a 1 in 20 dilution rate of Fam 30 multi- purpose iodophor disinfectant. Statement of competency: I …………………………………………… Veterinary surgeon, of Westpoint farm vets, has deemed that ……………………………………. Vet tech is suitably competent to carry out this procedure and confirm that observations have been made to support this conclusion. See separate observation record. Signed: Date: I ………………………………… vet tech, of Westpoint farm vets, agree to adhere to the protocol written for this procedure. Signed: Date: Review: Annually or if issues arise.