Pain relief at marking and mulesing

By District Veterinarian, Nik Cronin

June 2021

Marking and mulesing are important sheep husbandry procedures which help minimise the risk of devastating flystrike. Did you know there are now new pain relief products available that you can give to your lambs at mulesing and/or marking time to counteract the pain associated with these procedures? It should be common sense to provide pain relief when carrying out surgical procedures, and it is great to know that industry is working hard to provide additional options for sheep producers.

Two of these new products are systemic anti-inflammatories, so they work to reduce overall pain and inflammation around the body – similar to us taking Panadol, or Nurofen. Metacam 20 is an injectable product, and Buccalgesic is a gel which is applied inside the mouth in the cheek pouch area. Both these products can be purchased from your local private vet clinic.

Numnuts is the latest product to be released. It is a specialised dispenser tool that gives a dose of local anaesthetic at the same time that a ring is applied when tail docking or castrating sheep. The dispenser can be purchased online, or from certain regional stockists, and the local anaesthetic product is sold at private vet clinics.

Trisolfen is still available, and is not replaced by these new products – it can be used in combination to provide best practice pain relief. Trisolfen is the topical gel which can be applied to mulesing, and surgical castration or tail docking wounds. It contains a mixture of local anaesthetic - to numb the site, adrenalin - to reduce blood loss, and disinfectant - to reduce the risk of infection. Trisolfen can be bought over the counter at your local rural reseller.

If you have any questions about these new pain relief options, you can contact us on 1300 795 299. Alternatively you could also discuss these with your local private veterinarian.

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