Disclaimer: The following is not veterinary advice. We are not vets and are not advocating this procedure other than for our personal use. We are posting results, because we were asked about it. You’re adults. You make your own choices for your livestock. Thank you for playing.
We participated in an unofficial trial during this kidding season. I posted the original official study link in a previous post.
We waited too long on the first round of kids, we had the wrong type of syringe, and I was really freaking nervous about injected the kids in the “head”, so it didn’t go as well as it could have. Meaning it failed. However, when their horn buds were burned, the area being burned wasn’t “normal”. Some pieces of the bud were missing. Hopeful, we ordered new supplies to try again.
In the last set of twins we did, the doe was a failure due to the needle coming out of her head (read below). The buckling was a partial success. I didn’t inject enough towards the front of the bud. The front half remained. The back half of the bud, where the oil was concentrated, was gone.
Things the clove oil group discovered:
#1: If the needle comes out during the process, you’re pretty much done. Any secondary hole just sends the oil out the first hole. The oil needs to stay in. This is an automatic fail.
We had this happen during the first round, and those kids had to be “ironed” at a later date. See my first comments.
#2: Insulin or Tuberculin syringes work best for measuring.
Seriously, anything larger and getting the right .2 ml amount is a royal pain the backside.
#3: Inject at 12 o’clock (facing the front of the head, that would be the very back of the horn bud) avoiding the vein. After injecting, pull the syringe plunger back to see if you hit the vein. If you see blood, do not inject!
We had this happen on one of the first set of twins. See #1.
#4: Use 20 or 22 gauge 1/2″ needles for easy handling.
Many people had trouble with smaller needles; the oil was too thick. The vet monitoring the group did injections during her own trial using a 20 gauge. With the 1/2″ needle, we could let go if the kid started struggling, and it would stay in the horn bud until we could finish the injection. With the larger one, the needle would come out out of the horn bud, and that was the end of that trial.
#5: The higher the Eugenol content the better, but do NOT use Clove leaf. Use only unadulterated Clove bud oil.
EO companies were contacted to determine the eugenol content and requests were made for the GSMC (testing/purity results). A document was created to keep track. Some tried to save money and bought cheaper oils which failed. Others could not be tested due to injection failures. Clove oil from one MLM EO company was used and it also failed. This company was also not forthcoming with either eugenol or GSMC results.
We personally tried Plant Therapy on the first round, but since we messed up we don’t know how well it would’ve worked. Given the state of the bud at burning, we suspect it may do the job. Second round, we used Eden’s Garden which obviously worked based on the one partial success we had.
#6: While death is a possible result due to reactions or incorrect injections, the risk is lower than burning.
The amount of kids in the group numbered into a hundred. There were four deaths during the trials. Necropsy on two injected by the vet showed neither were because of the oil injections. The owner of the other 2 did not follow the study guidelines and injected more than was recommended. She also believes something was already wrong with the kids. Those two deaths will be a mystery, because a necropsy was not done on either.
The vet said she would not recommend going higher than .3 ml on a breed with stubborn horns. When injecting, make sure to follow the skull and not inject through it. If the skin above the horn bud is loose, you can inject sub-q over the bud making sure to raise a wheal around it. There was success using that method. If the skin is attached, you need to inject into or under the horn bud.
#7: Wear safety glasses.
One poor man had clove oil splash back into his face getting behind his contact lens. Ow. He was fine after washing his eye.
#8: Use one needle per horn bud.
You want the sharpest needle without transferring any bacteria from one bud to another. Reusing needles dulls the tip.
#9: All failures were “user error” or unknown quality oil was used.
Those using oils with sufficient eugenol content and injecting correctly had success of varying degrees. Many had full success and those who had partial successes were due to slight errors like ours with the buckling.
#10: Injections need to be done by day 5, especially with “stubborn horn” breeds and bucks.
Once the buds change to horns and start coming through the skin, your window for injection has closed. Anyone injecting after day 5 usually had issues with bleeding. There should be little to no blood.
Conclusion: It works – if done correctly with a good grade clove bud oil. We will definitely be trying again next year. We will keep our iron just in case, but peoples – it works. It needs practice just like the iron did.
About Topical: Almost all topical applications failed. Then it was discovered that leaf not bud is to be used for topical application. There were varying degrees of slowed horn growth, scurs being impeded, but nothing conclusive. None of it was 100% positive it was the leaf oil. It will be retried next year by a few brave souls.