Demand depletes stocks of sheep pain relief product

Terry Sim, June 1, 2022

Merino lambs ready for marking.

A SHORT-TERM shortage in Australia’s main mulesing pain relief product, Tri-Solfen, is expected to end this month with the arrival of extra stocks from overseas.

But in the meantime, Bendigo-based veterinarian Tristan Jubb has reminded producers that other approved pain relief products are available to sheep producers.

Dechra Australia has the marketing rights for Tri-Solfen on behalf of Tr-Solfen manufacturer Animal Ethics.

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Animal Ethics managing director Allan Giffard said there has been unprecedented demand for Tri-Solfen since pain relief was made mandatory for mulesing sheep in Victoria.

He said stocks of the pre-operatively applied product were now being shipped from overseas to meet demand. Production is also being boosted in Australia to seven days a week.

“We anticipate by mid-June, by about June 20-25, we should have stocks back in warehouses and back in stores so farmers can get on with using it for lamb or calf marking.”

Mr Giffard said it is only in the past week to ten days that Tri-Solfen stocks were depleted.

“Getting raw materials has been another compounding factor.

“We’ve had some supply chain issues, but we’ve overcome all those – the number one thing has really been the demand for the product.”

Mr Giffard said Tri-Solfen demand has increased in Victoria and in other states, especially with cattle producers (for castration), who are taking up Tri-Solfen quicker than anticipated.

“That’s great positive news for the industry – that wool and cattle producers are using the technology and showing the world once again that they care about their animals.

“So that has caught us a little bit by surprise,” he said.

Mr Giffard said year-on-year Tri-Solfen sales growth has normally been in double digits.

“But this year it has been in the higher double digit numbers and it has caught us on the hop a little bit.”

Tri-Solfen was also recently registered for use in the United Kingdom and Europe, and Animal Ethics now has a manufacturing plant in Scotland.

Other pain relief products available for sheep producers

Bendigo-based sheep veterinarian Tristan Jubb said he had been told by livestock contractors and resellers that they would not be able to replenish their Tri Solfen stocks until at least the end of this month, and possibly not until early July.

“And that’s what they are hoping.”

Dr Jubb said it has been mandated in Victoria that sheep must be mulesed with pain relief.

But he said for those contractors and farmers unable to get Tri-Solfen, the other approved pain relief products in Victoria are the injectable Meloxicam or the orally-administered Buccalgesic gel.

“This is just a reminder that all is not lost and the Meloxicam and Buccalgesic are S4s and available through veterinarians.”

Dr Jubb said producers should give extra attention to ensure lambs unable to be treated with Tri-Solfen, which has pain relief and antiseptic properties, are put onto paddocks with their mothers after mulesing on paddocks with extra grass coverage – 800kg DM/ha or better – with little bare ground to maximise wound hygiene.

He said although there was a delay of 10-15 minutes in pain relief from the Metacam-based products, “it is still better than nothing.”


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  1. Doug Wright, June 1, 2022

    Should producers have the type of Merino that need mulesing it is essential that a pain relief product be used.
    A better strategy; however, than breeding sheep that need mulesing is to breed plain-bodied, wrinkle-free Merino sheep.
    This is being done by many producers, using the genetic solution.

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