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Beyond the Bale : September 2014
44 ON FARM Adrug used for managing pain and controlling inflammation in animals including cats, dogs and horses has been found to also work successfully in cattle and sheep. The product for use in cattle will be on the market in November this year, with the product for use in sheep potentially available within one to two years. Troy Laboratories CEO Ian Saunders told the audience at last month’s National R&D Technical Update on Breech Flystrike Prevention that recent research has confirmed that meloxicam can be used as a pain and inflammation management treatment for lambs and sheep. “At this stage the product has been confirmed for use as an effective analgesic for castration and tail docking but it is expected that it will also be deemed suitable for use for surgical mulesing,” he said. “Meloxicam is administered to sheep by the buccal method, which means it is placed in the sheep’s mouth on the gums between the teeth and inner cheek lining, where the drug is quickly absorbed. High serum levels of meloxicam are reached within eight minutes of being administered. “Research has shown that meloxicam administered at the maximum proposed dose rate of 1 mg meloxicam per kg bodyweight has no detectable residues of the drug in any tissue 10 days after treatment.” “Meloxicam delivers effective pain management – it has been proven to work by third party scientists at CSIRO. It is easy to use and is safe for both the operator and animal. Plus it is affordable – we aim to get it in the sheep market for around 50 cents per dose.” The buccal formulation is sticky so after application (using a modified drench gun) it adheres to the mucous membrane of the mouth. It is also stained to ensure that double dosing does not occur. No needles or syringes are involved, reducing potential OH&S issues for operators, and eliminating any potential skin and muscle damage to the sheep. The drug does not have to be administered by a vet but will need to be purchased via a vet. The product contains 10 mg/ml meloxicam, and can have xylazine added to it to shorten the time to achieve pain management. The solution is systemic, in that it is absorbed into the blood stream, and so behaves like an intramuscularly delivered drug. Given that the effect of buccally administered meloxicam is not immediate, woolgrowers would have to consider carefully whether to administer the drug in the cradle or potentially in a race. At the R&D Update, Mr Saunders provided an example of a study to show that meloxicam is safe in young lambs when used as recommended under field conditions in Australia, saying that the formulation was well accepted by the lambs and no adverse reactions were noted. The study involved 60 male lambs (7–10 weeks old) on their mothers. The lambs were placed in two groups, with one group treated with a placebo and the other group treated with meloxicam. The behaviour of the lambs was then observed. “In the eight hours following marking, meloxicam caused a seven-fold reduction in (combined) abnormal behaviours of hunched standing, standing with a stretched posture, and walking stiffly,” he said. “Compared to the placebo group, the meloxicam group spent less time in standing postures and more time in normal lying postures. The meloxicam group also tended to spend more time grazing and more time suckling.” Troy Laboratories is a privately owned Australian veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer, established in 1959 and based at Glendenning in western Sydney. FUTURE PAIN RELIEF OPTION MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/flystrikeRnDupdate A new product that provides pain relief during animal husbandry procedures – such as castration, tail docking and potentially mulesing – could be on the market within two years at around 50 cents per dose. The product contains meloxicam, and will be manufactured by Troy Laboratories in Australia. It is a viscous liquid administered between the inside of the cheek and molar teeth of sheep from where it is absorbed into the blood stream within eight minutes. Field results indicate that meloxicam is effective, and is safe for both the operator and animal. Meloxicam being applied to the internal cheek of a lamb during trials, to provide pain relief during marking.