Xylazine sedation of calves for disbudding

Anyone charged with administering xylazine for sedation during calf disbudding has a legal obligation to uphold animal welfare, including in their care and handling. This online guide will help anyone working alongside a qualified veterinarian to gain the confidence and authorisation to administer xylazine to calves for disbudding.


To gain authorisation to administer xylazine for sedation during calf disbudding, you must show you can:

  • Communicate to the calf carer and obtain consent to sedate in the absence of a veterinarian.
  • Prepare, assemble, and check all equipment, including troubleshooting vaccine guns used in administration.
  • Evaluate calf weight, calf health and the environment for safe sedation.
  • Be methodical in administration, monitoring and post-sedation care for optimal results.
  • Be reactive and effective to problems, e.g. under- or over-dosing of calves, adverse drug events, and accidental human administration.
  • Identify the anatomy of emergency venous access (tail and jugular) in calves.
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of reversal agents.


Meeting the objectives will ensure you can confidently:

  • Evaluate calves and the environment for safe xylazine use.
  • Examine risks and explain mitigation when handling and administering xylazine.
  • Manage sedation of calves for disbudding.


You must be working alongside a qualified veterinarian to verify your competency in administering xylazine for sedation during calf disbudding.


Once your registration is received, you will sent access to the resources in VetScholar (NZVA's online learning platform) which you will need to work through to complete the authorisation. The materials are only available to those working with veterinary clinics.


You must complete the following to gain authorisation:

  1. Authorisation form, completed by participant and supervising veterinarian.
  2. Attestation of learner competency, including verification of employment, completed by supervising veterinarian. 

Authorisations are only valid for 12 months while working with the supervising veterinarian. If employment changes, a new authorisation will need to be completed.


$30 incl. GST.