Lamb Production

Meloxicam product approved for sheep in Australia after world-first tri-lateral review

Terry Sim, May 25, 2016

Metacam injectable May25-16SHEEP can be treated with the pain-relieving product Metacam in Australia after the first-ever trilateral joint review of a veterinary drug by Australian, Canadian and New Zealand authorities.

German-based company Boehringer Ingelheim has obtained approval for the use of Metacam 20mg/ml solution for injection in Canada, Australia and New Zealand for the alleviation of pain and inflammation in sheep. However, the product’s use in sheep has to be prescribed by a veterinarian.

Use of Metacam’s active ingredient meloxicam has been sought in the Australian sheep industry as a pre-surgery pain relief option for mulesing, castration, tail-docking and injuries during shearing. Meloxicam is also the active ingredient in the pain relieving gel ILIUM® Buccalgesic OTM which is expected to be available for use on Australian sheep this year, following research by Meat and Livestock Australia’s Donor Company and Troy Laboratories, and pending approval by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

The APVMA said in a statement that castration of male sheep is common practice in the sheep industry.

“The pain and stress this can cause can now be relieved by the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug—Metacam.

“It has been approved for single dose use in sheep and lambs 14 days of age or older for the alleviation of pain and inflammation,” the regulator said.

“To achieve this outcome, efficacy, target animal safety and human food safety were jointly reviewed by the three regulatory bodies, as part of the trilateral joint review.

“Health Canada, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries approved the use of Metacam on April 28 2016.”

The APVMA said the collaboration will provide numerous benefits and efficiencies such as simultaneous access to a new veterinary medicine in three major markets leading to improved animal health and food safety.

Metacam has previously been authorised for use in cattle, pigs, and horses in many countries, but this is the first approval for Metacam 20mg/ml in sheep.

The APVMA label for the use of Metacam 20mg/ml states it has a meat withholding period of 11 days for sheep before slaughter for human consumption. It is recommended it be given in a subcutaneous injection on the neck behind the ear at 1ml/20kg liveweight.


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  1. Glenn Phillip Nix, May 25, 2016

    Does this mean ordered through a vet and a cocky can use it or only vets?

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