Research partnership to develop unique livestock pain relief system

Sheep Central, September 24, 2018

New research will trial delivering livestock pain relief in supplements.

RESEARCH into delivering a pain relief agent via feed supplements to cattle about to undergo surgical procedures will also have applications for sheep, Medical Ethics managing director Allan Giffard said today.

The leading animal wellbeing solutions company and animal nutrition provider, 4 Season Company, have established a new collaboration to trial pain mitigation technologies via a unique feed supplement.

The research and development studies will involve incorporating a pain relief agent that is similar to human over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, into a specially formulated feed supplement based on a unique molasses mineral block technology.

Bayer through its Care4Cattle initiative has awarded a grant to Dr. Dominique van der Saag and the Sydney University Veterinarian Science Faculty to assist Medical Ethics and the 4 Season Company to start proof of concept studies.

Medical Ethics and 4 Season Company are working together to develop the technology that has the potential to deliver a range of pain mitigation therapies for livestock undergoing routine surgical procedures such as castration, disbudding, and to assist in the recovery from other painful ailments such as hoof abscesses. The technology also has the potential to help reduce pain and stress to cows during calving.

Mr Giffard said the technology to be trialled will have applications for sheep and cattle.

“Obviously the opportunity globally is bigger for cattle, but definitely in the Australian and New Zealand markets, and potentially some of the South American markets, we will develop applications for sheep as well.”

He said plan was to be able to deliver a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug prior to a surgical procedure.

“So there will be some numbing effect or dulling of the pain associated with the procedure itself.

“And then also to provide prolonged or post-analgesic, beyond what we get out of Tri-Solfen,” he said.

“The key is we are trying to introduce some practical multi-modal way of providing a combination of pain relief drugs.”

Mr Giffard said while the technology is still in the early stages the announcement was one of the company’s most significant animal wellbeing initiatives since the commercialisation of the Tri-Solfen pain mitigation technology.

“The awarding of the prestigious Bayer grant to our research partners Sydney University indicates the enormous potential the technology has to improve animal wellbeing outcomes globally.

“Currently there are no products providing pain relief in a simple, accessible form for animals to self-medicate,” he said.

“The combination of the Tri-Solfen technology (protected by 35 patents globally) and the introduction of the pain mitigated infused feed supplement has the potential to provide a practical, cost efficient and highly effective pain mitigation combination.

“This latest initiative is an important addition to our growing research and development pipeline,” he said.

Bayer regulatory affairs manager and animal wellbeing lead, Cate McPherson, said Bayer Australia is thrilled that Dr van der Saag has been awarded a Care4Cattle grant for this innovation in advancing the well-being of cattle.

“Coming in the wake of the recent approval of Tri-Solfen for the new claim in disbudding and dehorning in calves, this grant underlines Bayer’s commitment to support ethical and sustainable practices in Australia’s animal industries.”

In May, Medical Ethics announced it was investing A$5.3 million in researching the use of its Tri-Solfen pain mitigation technology for treatment of wounds in humans. Since commercialisation, Tri-Solfen has treated over 80 million farm animals in Australia.


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