Windsor, P. A. 2022. Role of topical anaesthesia in pain management of farm animals, a changing paradigm. Animals 12(18), 2459.
Field evidence indicates that livestock producers are motivated by access to products that readily deliver pain management during husbandry interventions and, more recently, viral epidermal infectious diseases, including FMD. There has been impressive adoption in Australia of a farmer-applied spray-on topical anaesthetic wound formulation (TAF; Tri-Solfen®, Medical Ethics, Australia), initially for managing pain of the breech modification ‘mulesing’ procedure that reduces susceptibility of sheep to flystrike. Over 120 million lambs have now received pain relief and cattle producers have commenced using the TAF for a range of husbandry procedures. This product has demonstrated efficacy for surgical castration and tail docking of lambs, surgical castration and dehorning of calves, surgical castration of piglets, debridement of lesions of the hoof for lame cattle and, importantly, treatment of clinical FMD lesions, including decubitus ulcerations occurring from prolonged recumbency. Multimodal use of an NSAID for improved pain management is advocated, particularly meloxicam, available by prescription from veterinarians for injection and as an oral formulation (Ilium Buccalgesic®, Troy Laboratories, Australia), with current work assessing the potential for prolonged delivery in molasses blocks. Increased use of TAF with NSAIDs significantly reduces pain and suffering in livestock, with enhanced healing of FMD lesions, reduced viral loads from Orf infections in lambs and diminished necessity of ‘antibiotic cover’, assisting antimicrobial-resistance (AMR) stewardship.