Dairy industry told to stop using Velactis drug

Dairy farmers were yesterday urged to stop using Velactis '“ a drug used in the abrupt drying-off in dairy cows '“ following its suspension by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

NFU Scotland has urged farmers to find an alternative to Velactis. Picture: John Devlin
NFU Scotland has urged farmers to find an alternative to Velactis. Picture: John Devlin

The suspension of the product follows reports of serious adverse effects in dairy cows, including deaths and recumbency – where cows lie down and are unable to stand up.

Although the exact cause of these adverse events is yet to be determined, the UK’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) said there was evidence to suggest that they may be linked to the use of Velactis.

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NFU Scotland’s animal health and welfare policy manager, Penny Johnston, yesterday said that the health and welfare of herds was of utmost priority for the industry.

“And given that there is some evidence to suggest the recumbency or deaths may be linked to the use of this medicine, we would urge all farmers to find an alternative to Velactis,” she said.

She said that the drug – which was designed to reduce milk production safely when dairy cows were drying off and to improve udder health and welfare – had not been on the market long and the union supported the decision to withdraw it following reports by farmers of potential effects on cattle.

Johnston added that the union was encouraging vets and farmers to submit to the VMD any reports of adverse events associated with the use of Velactis by contacting the Scottish Government or directly to manufacturers, CEVA Sante Animale, which had initiated a voluntary recall of the product pending further investigation.