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ALTHOUGH most medications for food-producing animals are either prescribed by veterinary surgeons or recommended by them, the vast majority are administered by their owners or keepers. The physical act of medicating an animal is, by and large, outside of the direct control of the veterinary surgeon.
The pharmaceutical innovators have recognised the increasing demand for medicines and other medicinal products that require less handling of the animal and less time spent delivering medicines that need prolonged action. Every available delivery route is now considered to ease the burden of administering various compounds while ensuring their efficacy through correct doses, proper timing and least risk of failure. For cattle, this may involve skin applications of pour-on formulations, oral dosing with liquids, pastes or boluses, stomach pumping with fluids and supplements, intramammary infusions, intrauterine infusions and boluses, intravaginal implants, as well as the more traditional injection of various solutions, generally subcutaneously or intramuscularly but also by more special routes such as subconjunctivally or in the base of the ear. The correct application of the medicine is critical for its success, but a paper summarised on p 685 of this week's Veterinary Record highlights that failure of dosing activity can be of minor concern compared to the traumatic damage and physical harm than can be inflicted by the incorrect …
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