Transatlantic lesion lessons
SLAUGHTER revenues from US dairy cull cows is not being optimised because of poor quality beef carcasses, mainly caused by injection site lesions.
Lesions cost the dairy industry money, said Ed Robb, director of food animal development at Pharmacia. "US meat packers trim carcasses of excessive injection site lesions, abnormal colouring and damaged tissue; reducing the final price paid to producers."
On average, US dairy cows will receive 6-15 injections/year, making injecting technique an important cost issue for producers, said Mr Robb.
Although UK cull cows do not enter the food chain, welfare lessons can be learned from Pharmacias research into best practice for injecting.
The actual product used is important, says Mr Robb. "Never mix products and try to use a product which causes little irritation to cow muscles – a quality known as tissue tolerance."
When possible, avoid intra-muscular routes and opt for sub-cutaneous, pinching the skin between the fingers, so the needle does not contact any muscle. In all cases, hygiene of needles and injection site is crucial.
Needle size should depend on the body weight of the animal and needles must be changed often. When injections are administered slowly there is less risk of product ingredients splitting and muscle damage, he adds.
Products should be injected at least volume, making high drug to solution ratios appropriate, and high volume injections should be given at multi-sites. *