Sedation of rams for shearing
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.
Acetylpromazine (ACP) is the drug of choice for sedating rams and large sheep. It is relatively safe and consistent in the onset for sedation.
Dose and administration:
The dose for sheep in 1ml per 75 kg of ACP 10mg, given by deep intramuscular injection, half an hour before shearing. If a ram receives a partial dose, do not top up or repeat the injection for half an hour, then assess sedation and give half or full dose depending on the sedation.
Animal welfare considerations
ACP is a relatively mild sedative. Injected animals should be able to stand and walk whilst sedated, but frequently sit if not disturbed. Because the drug reduces strength and coordination, sedated animals should be handled gently, particularly when put down the shute and when being counted out.
The drug takes approximately 4 hours to wear off. Do not do any of the following within that 4 hour period: 1/ drive the sheep more than a few hundred metres: 2/ leave the sheep in paddocks with dams, creeks and swamps; 3/ leave the sheep unprotected in either hot or cold weather; footbath the sheep apart from a walk-thru; drench or otherwise medicate the sheep (including IR capsules).
Because ACP is a sedative it will only be sold to bona fide clients of the Clare or Jamestown Vet clinics, this requires that; a veterinarian can only prescribe a drug if there is a client- patient- veterinarian relationship. This means that the veterinarian 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.
Clare Valley Veterinary Services is organizing VISITS TO YOUR AREA SOON. If you will be requiring sedation for rams in the next 12 months this is a good opportunity to make the process as convenient and cost efficient as possible. Ring the clinic or speak to one of our staff to register your interest of involvement in the next farm visit round. (08) 8842 2822.