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Practical Applications for NSAIDs in Production Animals

The use of NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs), such as salicylates, in treating inflammation in production animals has long been appreciated. NSAIDs can be a useful adjunct in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections, allowing high temperatures to be reduced quickly, and as a result, improving recovery times. Salicylates are also known to provide analgesia without causing sedation or depression. Recognition of pain can be problematic in some species, yet pain relief can have a positive impact on stress reduction and therefore productivity.

Practical Experiences

Nico Brons, a senior vet working within the Easey Group, has recently reviewed the potential for salicylates to improve welfare and quality of life in a pig production unit. Solacyl? (Sodium salicylate) is a powder suitable for oral solution, which remains stable in hard or soft drinking water for 24 hours or 6 hours in milk replacer. This quality makes it feasible to administer the treatment without causing additional stress. After oral administration of sodium salicylate to young pigs, the depletion of salicylic acid from edible tissues is rapid and there is a zero day withdrawal period for meat or offal.

Novel Uses

Salicylates can be added to the first drinking water supplied to weaners with a view to reducing the combined stress of weaning, transport and vaccination. This is administered for 20- 24 hours and the product remains stable for 24 hours in drinking water. During vaccination at other times, treatment with salicylates is started around noon prior to the day scheduled for vaccination and continued on the day of vaccination. It has been observed that treated pigs appear to recover more quickly in the days after vaccination. Salicylates have also proved to be a useful intervention in stress management. Administering salicylates to weaners 20-24 hours before travel appears to result in more relaxed, less stressed animals, with anecdotal reports of pigs actually falling asleep during transport. In cases where a group of pigs is showing general discomfort for whatever reason, such as exposure to extreme cold or heat, or draughts, or temporary lack of access to food, salicylates appear to assist recovery.

Combination Treatment

Clinical signs of viral infection in pigs can include recumbancy, inappetence, fever, sneezing, coughing, panting and lethargy. Although salicylates can be given concurrently with antibiotic therapy, some pig units on mainland Europe give salicylates for 1 to 1.5 days prior to medicating with a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

Vet Simon Daniel has also used salicylates in calves, Our experience of Solacyl has been particularly positive in one calf rearing unit where we faced some specific problems. Pneumonia is a constant battle here as the system relies on relatively high stocking densities with low margins and cost control is very important. Unwanted dairy bull calves come in at approximately one week old for rearing until they are ready to go on to a beef finishing unit. We are using a combination of antibiotic and Solacyl as both treatment and palliation for pneumonia in the initial four-week period while vaccination against bovine respiratory viruses is undertaken.

Previously this unit has been treating the calves with antibiotic in milk replacer using automatic feeders but salicylates were added several months ago with positive results, Our client reports better efficacy with the two drugs in combination and seems pleased with the results achieved with Solacyl. Compared with the alternatives Solacyl, especially in combination with antibiotic, has provided a cost effective treatment for these calves. The fact that these products can continue to be administered mixed with milk powder via automatic feeders has allowed for easy group treatment with low labour costs, reports Simon.

Where cost is a significant concern, combination treatments may seem difficult to justify but this case demonstrates that the approach is justified, even in production systems existing on the narrowest of profit margins.

Solacyl contains sodium salicylate. Legal category POM-V For further information contact Eurovet Animal Health, Compass House, Chivers Way, Histon, Cambridge, CB24 9AD Tel 01223 257933 E mail

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