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Anaesthetic shortage expected to last until May hits spring lambing and calving

The shortage is thought to be due to unforeseen issues with the supply of raw materials.

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Anaesthetic shortage expected to last until May hits spring lambing and calving

A shortage of a local anaesthetic used in farm animal medicine has prompted alarm bells throughout the industry.

 

Demand is particularly high in the spring with the procaine hydrochloride drug used to provide local and regional anaesthesia for procedures including calving, lambing, caesarean operations, castration and de-horning of cattle.

 

The shortage is thought to be due to unforeseen issues with the supply of raw materials.


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Farmers flooded to a group on Facebook asking how others were de-horning calves, with users suggesting Hornex paste, an alternative or importing the drug from abroad.

 

A vet said the industry was ‘holding it back’ for caesareans and other emergencies.

 

Impact

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) said it was aware of UK availability issues and instead advised pronestesic 40mg/ml/ 0.036 mg/ml solution for injection for horses, cattle, pigs and sheep (Vm 11557/4002) which is available.

 

While one company is already importing product into the UK from Europe, the VMD urged farmers to ’make due diligent attempts to source UK authorised products before considering importing an alternative medicine’.

British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Simon Doherty said: “BVA had heard from some veterinary practices that they were only able to get hold of a fraction of what they needed, which would have resulted in a very acute impact on farm animal welfare.

 

“VMD’s clarification is especially timely as this is a period of peak seasonal demand for these products. We will keep our members closely informed of any further developments.”

 

Normal UK availability is expected to return in May 2019.

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