THE USE OF ACP TO SEDATE RAMS FOR SHEARING

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Willunga Vet Services
37 Main Rd
Willunga
SA 5172

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Phone:
8556 2075
Fax:
8556 2654

Aldinga Vet Services
16 Heathersay Ave
Aldinga Beach
SA 5173

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Phone:
8556 5498

Pre shearing sedation is now considered a routine procedure and is indeed sensible form all points of view including ram, shearer and owner. For OHS reasons, sedation of all sheep over 75kg before shearing has become a standard request by shearers. There are many issues with dispensing and the use of sedatives which we must address to protect owners, the dispensing veterinarian and to ensure animal health and welfare issues are met.

THE SEDATIVE

Acetylpromazine (ACP) is the drug of choice for sedating rams and large sheep. It is relatively safe and consistent with the onset of sedation. But, as with all sedatives there is a risk of complications. Attention to detail and careful management will help limit the risk of complications. ACP should not be used in old or sick sheep.

If accidental injection does occur, seek medical advice immediately:

Emergency contacts

Ambulance 000

Noarlunga Hospital 08 8384 9222

Poisons Information Centre 13 11 26

Willunga Veterinary Services 08 8556 2075

Do not let someone accidentally injected with sedative drive themselves to hospital

DOSE AND ADMINISTRATION:

The dose of ACP 10 is 1ml/100kg bodyweight bodyweight by deep intramuscular injection a minimum of 30minutes prior to shearing. The ACP is administered using a 3ml syringe and a 18g 1 ½ inch needle in the rump.

Injection should be a two person procedure, with one person preparing and administering the dose of ACP, the second person assisting to restrain and mark (with a raddle etc) rams that have been sedated.

If a ram appears to receive a partial dose, or does not appear sedated after 30mins. DO NOT give a second dose of ACP. Wait another 30mins, if possible and then attempt to shear again. “Top Up” doses are not recommended as this may be fatal!

ACP has an onset of action of about 30mins and lasts at this level for another 30mins to an hour. Thus rams should be sedated in approximate hour “blocks” as estimated by the shearers and the owner.

ANIMAL WELFARE

Rams sedated with ACP should be able to still stand and walk but may sit down if not disturbed. Because they have reduced strength and co-ordination sedated animals should be handled gently and extra care should be taken when being put down the chute and when being counted out.

Sedation will take about 4 hours to wear off, so within 4 hours of sedation:

· Do not expose rams to extreme hot or cold

· Do not drive rams more than a few hundred metres

· Drench or otherwise medicate rams

· Do not administer to sick or debilitated rams

RESPONSIBILITY

Recently the laws regarding the dispensing of ACP have changed. It is now a legal requirement that the appropriate conditions for the dispensing of ACP are met. This means ACP cannot be dispensed unless these conditions are met.

1) ACP can only be dispensed to bona fide clients of Willunga Veterinary Services. A veterinarian can only prescribe a drug if there is a client-patient-veterinarian relationship. This means that the vet cannot prescribe medication unless they are familiar with the farming enterprise, have knowledge of the animals that will be treated with the drug, and have been on the property in the last 12 months

2) An “Agreement for the sedation of rams” needs to be filled out in consultation with the property owner and vet – every 2 years. This can be done on farm or in the clinic. This is a 6 page document that outlines owner and vet responsibilities for the use of ACP.

DISPENSING

If you require ACP for shearing please ring the clinic and order your ACP at least 3-4 days prior to shearing. That way we can ensure the paperwork is completed before you arrive and we also have enough sedative on hand to dispense for your needs. To fill out the required paperwork we will need to know, the number of rams to be shorn, their approximate weight and their breed.

When you pick up the ACP an ACP usage form will need to be signed by both the vet and owner. This form is then taken with the ACP. Once shearing has finished, the unused ACP needs to be brought back to the clinic with the ACP usage form. This form has a section for the return of ACP, this also needs to be filled out.

We understand that the law changes and its associated paperwork can be inconvenient, but the requirements for dispensing ACP are now legal requirements. This means we must follow these requirements and cannot dispense ACP if these requirements are not met. So unfortunately that means no exceptions!

We are organizing visits to your area soon. If you will be requiring sedation for rams and have not had a visit in the last 12 months this is a good opportunity to make the process as convenient and cost effective as possible. If you are part of the Brucella Ovis accreditation scheme we can also combine a visit for annual bleeds with an ACP accreditation visit.