Gauteng Smallholder Gauteng Smallholder November 2011 - Page 15

NEWS Veterinary painkiller is lethal to vultures A study published online last month in the scientific journal Chemosphere has shown the lethal effects to vultures of a popular painkilling drug used in the cattle farming industry. The toxic drug is known as carprofen and is from the same family of drugs as diclofenac. The frequent and widespread use of diclofenac to treat cattle and buffalo in south Asia is what was responsible for the catastrophic popula- tion declines in vultures in that region. Birds that consumed the carcasses of livestock treated with diclofenac experienced sever renal failure and death within hours to days. As a result, five species of South Asian vulture are now endangered or critically endangered. Against this background, conservationists in South Africa are concerned about the impact of similar veteri- nary drugs on the vultures which are indigenous to this region. To better understand the impact of non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on southern African vultures, a team of researchers from the University of Pretoria, the United Kingdom and associated conservation partners have been conduct- ing a range of toxicity trials. So far, only one common drug, meloxicam, has been shown not to kill vultures at the maximum level of exposure in a carcass. Many drugs belong to this family and the toxicity of most remains unknown. Prof Vinny Naidoo, a co- author of the study and director of the Biomedical Research Centre, University of Pretoria, South Africa, says: “We wanted to safety test carprofen because we had some evidence that this drug mig B&RF2FgVGW&W2F2vVB&fFPfWG2Bf&W'2FW gVGW&R6fRFW&FfRFF6fV2( ФU4pb&vRƗfrल'VrW&7VGW&P66BV6Ɨ7F0fVVPrbW"vFW6VW6rB&W7FW&B6p( FvWFW"vR&R7G&vW"0vRF&fRB7&RV6FW"( Фf"&Rf&F6F7@ǖbBr&tWw2BЦw6V660wwr66ƆFW"6vV6GFR&RG&VFVBvF6'&fVFRG'Vr6V7G2FRFW2BFRF77VP&VBFR6FRbFPV7F6G&V@WW&VBgVGW&W2vW&PvfVFWF77VR&66'&fV"W&R6'&fVBFRVWfV0V7W&VBFWF77VRFW6RgVGW&W26vVB6FVVBvR