Skip to content

Drugs For Pain Management In Ruminants

19 January 2018

In this article the practical aspects of pain relief in cattle and sheep will be examined.

There are several different types of drugs which can be used to control pain in farm animals. Some are controlled drugs only to be used by a vet due to restrictions under the Veterinary surgeons act. Some methods of pain relief (eg epidural) may be technically difficult and should only to be administered directly by a vet or by a trained technician under direct supervision of  a vet. However, It is also recognised that in cases where otherwise an animal may not receive veterinary attention, there is a place for some type of pain relieving medication to be available on farm for the use of a trained stockperson where required.

Syringe ready to use

Currently there are no licensed drugs available for use in sheep. Pain medication which is licensed in cattle or pigs can however be used in sheep at the discretion of the vet. In these cases standard withdrawal periods must be applied to prevent contamination of meat intended for human consumption.

Types of pain relieving drugs which can be used in cattle and sheep include:

Katy Hewitson, SAC Consulting Veterinary Services

Sign up to the FAS newsletter

Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service