Oral pain control ready for cattle

An orally administered liquid pain reliever for cattle is now available through Canadian veterinarians.

Meloxicam Oral Suspension was developed by Solvet, a Calgary-based manufacturer of animal health products.

The Canadian Beef Cattle Code of Practice directs cattle producers to provide pain control for castration and dehorning as of Jan. 1.

Dr. Merle Olson, vice-president of research and development at Solvet, said the timing of the product’s release is fortuitous, but the company had been working on its development for four years.

“There’s nothing else like it in North America,” he said.

“Anything done to animals that we can provide pain control … we’re all aboard with that.”

Meloxicam as an injectable product has been available for pain relief for several years, but this is the first product that can be administered through drench or applied to feed. Olson said it will be available only through veterinarians, and Solvet has spent the weeks since the Oct. 5 registration approval meeting with veterinarians to acquaint them with the product.

Meloxicam Oral Suspension is the only product labelled specifically for pain relief related to castration.

However, it can also be used under veterinary approval for relief of pain related to other procedures such as branding and dehorning.

Dosage is determined by weight of the animal, and Olson said research shows the product will provide a therapeutic dose of pain relief for three days.

“This is the beauty of this product. Our research showed three-day pain control. It’s like taking an Advil and it works for three days.”

Research on the product’s effectiveness was done by measuring animals’ cortisol levels and heart rate and by monitoring their be-haviour after castration in terms of activity and feeding.

Withdrawal period in cattle is 35 days.

Olson said the company is working to get the product labelled for other food animal species, including horses.

The liquid product is tasteless and can be delivered through feed to animals such as elk and bison, which are more difficult to handle.

“We tried to make it as simple and user friendly as we can.”

Prices will vary by clinic.

Solvet is the veterinary arm of ADL, which manufactures more than 35 products in its Calgary plant and has 80 employees.

Its first product was an ivermectin pour-on product, which helped reduce the flow of ivermectin from the United States through the Own Use Import program, Olson said.

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