Lamb Production

APVMA approves pain relief treatment for lamb castration and tail-docking

Sheep Central, October 4, 2016
Bred Well Fed Well workshops build ewe management skills. Picture - Craig Hinchliffe.

A new pain relief option for lambs has been approved. Picture – Craig Hinchliffe.

SHEEP pain relief treatment Tri-Solfen has been approved for use in lambs undergoing surgical tail-docking and castration in Australia.

And approval to use the sheep pain relief treatment on shearing cuts and other accidental wounds is next on its creator’s agenda.

In what Animal Ethics managing director Allan Giffard described as a ground-breaking new development for farmers and animal welfare, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority last week approved Tri-Solfen’s use for the tail-docking and castration of the lambs of all breeds of sheep.

Mr Giffard said Animal Ethics was now working with the APVMA to gain approval for Tri-Solfen’s use for shearing cuts and other accidental sheep wounds.

Bayer’s Tri-Solfen is now the only unrestricted on-farm anaesthetic combination solution for sheep available from rural retailers that is approved for immediate pain relief at the time of surgical mulesing, tail-docking and castration without veterinary oversight or approval.

Tri-Solfen has been widely used to alleviate pain in lambs undergoing mulesing and Mr Giffard said scientific trials have demonstrated pain alleviation up to 24 hours and improved wound healing. It is estimated that, to date, 60 million lambs have been treated with Tri-Solfen after mulesing. An estimated 20 million lambs are castrated and 30 million are tail-docked in Australia annually.

Mr Giffard said on-going trials conducted by the Sydney University Veterinary School confirmed that Tri-Solfen is also effective to alleviate pain post-castration and tail-docking in lambs.

“It is a win for farmers, a win for lambs, a win for animal welfare – and a win for the Australian sheep and wool industry,” Mr Giffard said.

“It provides a practical means for farmers to alleviate the pain associated with these husbandry procedures, all three of which are relied on for important animal health and management reasons.

“This in turn may improve mothering-up, minimise set-back, while also addressing consumer concerns over welfare.”

Mr Giffard said farm animals experience pain in the same way as dogs, cats and other companion animals.

“They deserve the same respect and effort to develop safe, affordable and effective pain relief and wound care that is practical for farmers to use.”

Mr Giffard said it is currently estimated that 70 percent of lambs undergoing mulesing receive Tri-Solfen at the time of the procedure. Many or most of these undergo surgical castration and/or tail docking at the same time.

The approval for extension of use means that Tri-Solfen may now be used to alleviate pain associated with all three wounds at the same time or just for the castration and tail docking procedure in all breeds of sheep, he said.

In August this year, Troy Laboratories won approval to extend the use of its product Ilium Buccalgesic OTM (Buccalgesic) for the tail-docking and castration of sheep at any age.

Troy Laboratories’ S4 Buccalgesic product is able to be used by sheep producers after veterinary consultation. Boehringer Ingelheim’s pain-relieving product Metacam 20 achieved APVMA approval in May this year for anti-inflammatory use in sheep and can also be administered to lambs by a farmer or sheep contractor after the product is prescribed with directions on use by a veterinarian.

Applications are also underway in New Zealand, the EU, the United States of America and Canada for Tri-Solfen use approval in sheep castration and tail docking, pig castration, cattle tail-docking, disbudding and castration. Approval to use Tri-Solfen for mulesing in other countries has not been sought.

Sources: Animal Ethics, Bayer, Troy Laboratories.


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