A NEW study has found using a fast-acting pain relief product on calves during animal husbandry practices not only improves animal welfare outcomes but delivers significant productivity gains.
The study on 300 calves at Tocumwal, in New South Wales, compared weight gains after disbudding between calves that had been administered with the pain relieving gel ILIUM® Buccalgesic OTM, and those that had not.
Troy Laboratories general manager Ian Saunders said the study found treated calves had an average weight gain of 60.1 grams more per day than untreated calves.
“Over the 30-day observation period, this amounted to an average 1.8-kilogram weight advantage for treated over untreated calves,” Mr Saunders said.
“Besides an improvement in growth rates, the treatment saw improved post-treatment behaviours. Mothering up of calves and handling the stock after treatment was easier.”
The Tocumwal study was undertaken by independent veterinarians Matthew Petersen and David Petersen, and Charles Sturt University Veterinary Honours student Nerida Evans.
MLA general manager of on-farm innovation and adoption, Dr Matthew McDonagh, said before the release of the gel, meloxicam was only available as an injection, which presented operator-safety, carcase-quality and welfare issues.
“The new gel formulation is available through veterinarians and can be administered while calves are in the race, providing 24 to 48 hours of pain relief,” Dr McDonagh said.
“The MDC partnership with Troy Laboratories is also working on the development of a similar pain relief product for sheep, which should be available around July.
“The sheep buccalgesic gel will be the first time meloxicam will be registered for use in sheep anywhere in the world.
“The development and registration process for buccalgesic was expensive so, by sharing that cost, Troy and the MDC have created products that would probably not have been developed if left in the hands of market forces,” he said.
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