May 29, 2023

Liz Pryor, Australia

The opportunity today to share the results thanks to the opportunity today to share the results of a trial that we ran in australia looking at the efficacy of meloxicam when used in sheep to alleviate pain and inflammation from routine husbandry procedures a bit of background to this study in australia we have a large proportion of merino genetics through our entire

Herd obviously the marinos is used for wool production there’s also crossed through a lot of other breeds for for meat so what this means is there’s a large proportion the skin of these merino crosses is quite wrinkly and especially around the breech area it leads to a fecal accumulation and a really high risk of blowfly strike which is quite common in australia so

To manage the risk from this skin wrinkle around the around the breech area there’s a procedure that we call music that we use quite commonly in australia and it’s an infield surgical procedure that removes a strip of skin from either side of the breech in young lambs so what happens with this is when they heal it’s quite a smooth area and it’s without without war

Than without wrinkles so that means the risk of fecal accumulation and blowfly strykers is greatly reduced traditionally lambs at our docks and cast raiders at the same time as this procedure is done and traditionally it’s been done by farmers or contractors for the farm without local anesthetic or pain relief so we know that this has productivity implications for

The lamb so they do do take a hit in their growth after they’ve been through these routine husband do procedures so we also know in we’re creating a level of pain with these procedures so if there’s a way that we can manage manage these risks and that’s great in terms of welfare for the animal but also implications for expectations of the consumer and international

Trade so that led us to looking at this trial and the trial was really instigated because medicham 20 which is meloxicam was recently approved for use in australia canada and new zealand in sheep so we wanted to look at the effect of using medicham in these routine procedures you know in a field environment and what we were doing with this was look was measuring

Behavioral signs of pain so we looked at tardily and castration with a ring and musing as well hypothesis with this was that the lambs that had got medicham 20 were likely to return to normal behavior sooner and show less pain behaviour overall than those lambs that didn’t receive pain relief so with our trial we ended up using 84 crossbred lambs so it’s a cross

Bred marino’s they’re around about 17 kilos in weights when they were put into the trial around this trial in south west victoria so it’s a southern state of australia on the eastern seaboard we used a randomized block design with three treatments and they were blocked according to weight into four replicates so we had three treatment groups so one received medicaid

20 and interestingly the dose for sheep is 1 milligram per kilogram whereas in cattle it’s it’s half a milligram per kilogram so the devil so they’ve got that subcutaneously under the skin 20 minutes prior to the procedure we had a placebo group that received the same volume of saline under the skin 20 minutes prior and then we had a control group so these lambs

Were put into the handling facility and spun around in the facility as per normal but they had no procedures done so they were our control group so what we did then was we let the lambs move from the handling’ facility back to paddock and we gave them about half an hour to settle before we started our observations the observers that we had were blinded to treatment

And what they did was scan sequentially looking for each lamb within the block over 25 minutes so these lambs just had numbers written on their side so they could be easily identified and this scattering was repeated hourly for eight hours on the first day and then for an hour on days two and days three the analysis that we use so each behavioral observation

Was assessed by fitting a general linear model using your logic transformation and binomial distribution so treatment and observation periods were used to fix the effects and block lamb date observer work random effects and each bait behavior category was treated as a binary function so that was a yes or a no so this is a very standard sheep enterprise for us in

Australia where the sheep are on the paddock twelve months of the year so this is our observer here doing their their scanning and what we were looking for was four main behaviours so we’re looking for normal behaviour and what we would consider plain behavior it’s so normal standing there standing without any objects abnormality whereas hunch standing has got

A rounded appearance with an arch back in the head is lower than the highest point of the back there normal walking so that’s where they’re just walking around with a smooth even gait no obvious hesitation or stiff walking so lambs are stiff when they’re walking they’re tentative to move around and and quite sort of awkward in their movements and just our data

Sheets here so when we look at our results we did have significant results for what we consider our normal behaviour and also our our pain behaviors so overall we had had a significant result in the the lambs that were treated with pain relief compared to those that didn’t in normal walking for normal standing we had a very strong trend just not quite significant

There well we look at the overall results so the proportion of lambs being observed over the entire period of the trial when we look at those lambs that receive pain relief they very closely resemble our control so that’s giving us a really strong indication here that the pain relief is making a difference to them when we look at our pain behaviour again we had

Some strongly significant results in both and we see that those lambs that didn’t receive pain relief certainly exhibited a high proportion of pain behaviour throughout there throughout the trial so if we break this down a little bit and look at sort of what happened over the the observation periods for the hunched standing so it’s our pain behavior here we can see

The overall that there was you know a large proportion of lambs that didn’t receive pain relief are showing pain behaviors and those lambs that did receive pain relief very quickly reduced the the percentage or the occurrence of behaviors and what happens over time is that the the pain the lambs that receive pain relief are closely resembling our control group and

Certainly after the first observation period into the second and third they were indistinguishable from our control group if we look at the staff walking again very similar so those lambs that didn’t receive pain relief are showing a high proportion of pain behaviors that certainly extend out through the whole observation period those lambs that did receive pain

Relief the currents have pain behaviors dropped quite quickly and again over times become almost indistinguishable from our control group so it’s giving us confidence here that the pain relief is providing a benefit when we look at normal walking again those that didn’t receive pain relief showing pain behaviors through the whole trial and we do see quite quickly

Over this period here those lambs that received pain relief are indistinguishable again from our control group so so these lambs are feeling better a lot quicker and able to return to normal faster so when we put this together in labs undergoing routine husbandry procedures we know that medicham 20 significantly increased the incidence of normal behavior in lamps

That would give them pain relief compared to those that didn’t so this is really important because we’re allowing these lamps to return to normal faster so that means that they’re back on their mum’s feeding and they’re likely to take a a less of a growth check going forward after these procedures we also know that medicham 20 significantly decrease the incidence

Of pain behaviors so we know that by giving these guys pain relief for these procedures that were able to reduce the amount of pain that they’re feeling and this has implications for certainly their production because we know they’re going to recover faster but also in terms of managing their pain and welfare so these routine husband new procedures are procedures

That we need to do in terms of management we have to do it for a benefit to them but if there’s a way we can mitigate the pain that they feel in these procedures and that’s absolutely better for the animal and certainly has production implications for us going forward and in terms of trade and the expectation of our consumers this is really important so one of the

Nice things about this trial is we use a lot with farmers now that this this medicham has been registered to say that in a field situation if you use this medication your lambs are going to be a lot more comfortable and they’re going to recover faster and for a lot of them when they’re looking at the cost benefit of treating lambs routinely so the expectation with

This in australia is every land that gets undergoes a routine husbandry procedure which is pretty much all of them will receive some kind of pain relief so now that we have a study here to say that we know that this makes a big difference to your lambs i mean looking at the cost benefit you can say we know we’re going to make a difference they’re likely to recover

Faster and in terms of production that’s got to be a good thing so overall our conclusion was that medicham 20 should be considered an important tool in managing the welfare of lambs undergoing husbandry procedures

Transcribed from video
Field efficacy of Meloxicam when used in sheep to alleviate pain… By WAB World Association for Buiatrics