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Taking the pain out of mulesing

Crookwell Veterinary Hospital is a strong supporter of the technology that is now providing tangible pain relief at the time of mulesing. The product *Tri-Solfen is increasingly being used by Australian sheep producers, including many wool growers in the Crookwell district.

Tri-Solfen is a local anaesthetic and antiseptic gel spray that provides both fast and long-lasting pain relief, as well as a reduction in blood loss and infection. It is sprayed directly onto the wound immediately after mulesing.

Recent research by Professor Peter Windsor, Professor of Livestock Health and Production at the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science, shows applying the formulation to mulesing wounds relieves pain for a minimum of 24 hours after application.

Apart from two local anaesthetics, the product contains adrenaline. This reduces the shock and stress of blood loss while prolonging the anaesthetic action. Tri-Solfen also contains the antiseptic Cetrimide to provide protection from bacterial contamination. The product's gel base helps it adhere well to the wound and become a barrier to potential infection.

Managing pain at mulesing is both an animal welfare and a production issue.

Anecdotal evidence from sheep producers round the country indicates much faster mothering and return to suckling, significantly less pain and stress, faster wound healing, and a rapid return to normal lamb behaviour following the use of Tri-Solfen post-mulesing.

Another advantage of using the product is recognition through Better Choices, an audited welfare program that identifies woolgrowers who follow an integrated, planned approach to achieve best-practice welfare for husbandry procedures in sheep. Producers registered for Better Choices can stamp their wool as coming off sheep that have been mulesed using Tri-Solfen.

CVH can assist through supply of the product, and provide information about registering for the Better Choices program (http://www.betterchoices.com.au/).

Supply

Only veterinarians are allowed by law to dispense small quantities of *Tri-Solfen – that means producers don’t have to purchase a full container. We do this regularly at CVH, helping to keep costs down for small producers and avoiding waste.