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Diclofenac,NSAIDS and the threat to Iberian vultures

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Offline Clive

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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2008, 23:11 PM »
This is the most recent update from Birdlife International

http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2008/04/vulture_declines.html

Quote
Asian vultures will be extinct in the wild within a decade without urgent action to eliminate the livestock drug that has caused their catastrophic decline, a newly published paper warns.

The new study shows that the population of White-rumped Vultures Gyps bengalensis is dropping by more than 40 per cent each year in India where it has plunged by 99.9 per cent since 1992. Numbers of Indian G. indicus and Slender-billed Vultures G. tenuirostris together, have fallen by almost 97 per cent in the same period.

Conservationists say that banning the retail sale of the veterinary drug diclofenac and constructing three more captive breeding centres is the only way to save the birds. Manufacture of the veterinary form of the drug, as an anti-inflammatory treatment for livestock, was outlawed in India in 2006 but it remains widely available. Furthermore, diclofenac formulated for humans is being used to treat livestock.

I have written to Birdlife international and asked questions plus given them a link to this topic... Wait for an answer.....

Clive
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 23:27 PM by Clive »
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2008, 23:50 PM »
From 2004 here are what I can find as the most up to date figures (again from Birdlife International) for Gyps fulvus population data.

Look at the figures on the left 17,300 to 18,100 for the Iberian stronghold. All other countries have just tens or some hundreds.

Still need...

Migration numbers figures
Migration destination figures
daily return journey figures of griffons to Morocco from South Spain.
Moroccan policy on Diclofenac

Clive

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Offline arvak

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« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2008, 00:51 AM »
Hello to all.

Allthough i know the uses of diclofenaco in human medicine, I've never used it in animals because of the kidney toxicity and the effects in the gastroenterical tract. I knew about the toxicity when i was a student in a conference of Roberto Aguilar and Patrick Redig of the Raptor Centre of Minnesota (they were my heroes in raptors medicine).

   At the moment the use of NSAID´s is very extended in the Pet's clinic (meloxicam, carprofen,ibuprofen...) but no in my clinic ( I'm a Little bit against them).

   That means that i have to study to be helpfull in this topic.

    By the way i can begin writing to a friend who was my teacher at the University in Pharmacology Department. I'll write him in two or three days so, please, if some one have any question to transmit to him it will be wellcome. I'll make a list of questions to send him and i hope he will give an interesting points of view.

   

Offline Clive

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« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2008, 10:15 AM »
Hi Arvac, thank you for your response to this rather difficult topic...

Meloxicam is one of the safe alternatives that does not kill gyps species..... I don't know about the other ones...

Questions for your friend...

Spain...

1. Has diclofenac ever been used in Spain to treat (especially farmyard) animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, goats etc.?
2. Is the veterinary use and or sale of diclofenac illegal in Spain?
3 Now that there are many generic versions of Diclofenac are they being used for veterinary use especially in animals that would be a food supply for livestock that are part of a griffon vultures food source.

Migratory vultures to Africa...

1. Who should we contact to find out about my proposed risk to migratory griffons from Iberia to Africa with regards to the latest news that diclofenac is being widely sold there.

And, anything else that you as a vet can think of....

Thanks Arvac...

Just as an update of the 5 emails I have sent to various proffessional companies and NGO's I have recieved exactly zero replies... Disappointing to say the least...

And can anyone find out the latest figures of griffon migration from Iberia to Africa... I can't find out anything at all....

Looking around at various other forums I can't find anyone even talking about what I consider to be a very real and plausible threat to the last great colonies of Eurasion griffon vultures...

Or is this another case of its not happening yet so lets wait till it does... ie shutting the door after the horse has bolted...(sp anyone)

Clive
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 10:27 AM by Clive »
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Offline arvak

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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2008, 12:33 PM »
Thanks Clive ,
   at the moment i don't know other uses of diclofenac but antiinflamatory . This was the first thing that surprised me when i begun to read. If it would have been an steroid drug it's easy to suspect that it is used for the growth and feeding ( like clembuterol ), but it isn't . It must be used for other purposes as someone pointed in the topic.
 have you written to Consejeria de Medio Ambiente de la Comunidad de Madrid?. I lost contact ten years ago but i left there good friends ( forest guards, not bosses) and i can ask them for a contact in the vultures control group.

Offline arvak

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« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2008, 13:26 PM »
Here i am again,

 I know a little bit more that can explain the use of diclofenac ( i feel silly for not think about it earlier).

  Well, the diclofenac is allowed to be used in many pathologies in cows, pigs, sheeps, horses, and other domestic animals. The main thing is that it's not administrated alone as a simple drug , but it's included in the composition of other medicines that are commonly used for respiratory diseases, "mastitis", foot inflammation etc. ( I have no experience in treating farm animals so i had to ask about their medicines).

 For example:  If we read the composition of many of those medicines we can find Penicilin-G, Streptomycin  as antibiotics and diclofenac as antinflamatory drug in the same vial. The use of the antiinflamatory drug  helps the action of the antibiotic one (it is quicklier).

  So, if a farmer has his cows  with a mammal infection they won't produce as much milk as they are supposed to do and the treatment to avoid that is with the mix of antibiotic and antiinflamatory drugs. It becomes an economic trouble.

 

  Rgs Arvak.


Offline Clive

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« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2008, 13:40 PM »
Hi Arvak, Thank you very much for your much needed information....

Can I just make this absolutely clear....

Are we saying now that diclofenac is being used by vets on a regular basis on general farm animals in Spain?
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Offline arvak

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« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2008, 14:09 PM »
Hi Clive

Yes, I'm afraid it is but I'll investigate to make sure. Usually there is a hard competition between the different Laboratories to introduce their own medicines in the daily clinic and the criteria to choose one or another are the success in the treatments and who is cheapper.

The main thing is that you may include meloxicam in the medicine's composition but i have no information about if this drug can be added as a generic to the composition or if the molecular composition is registered and belongs to an specific company. I'll look for more information.

Rgs. Arvak

Offline arvak

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« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2008, 00:08 AM »
Hello to all

I've received the first answer of a pharmaceutical friend and this is the resume of what she wrote:

              1.- She couldn't found any pharmacology speciality in Spain registered with diclofenaco (alone or included in a complex medicine), but it must be registered in Europe because she has found the LMR (maximum residual limit) published by the EU. ( That means that it's legal to be used in Spain but you can't buy it here).

              2.- The diclofenac is not allowed for treating animals that produces milk for human feeding .

              3.- There are at least two more NSAIDs that can kill vultures: flunixin (Finadyine) and carprofen (Rimadyl). I don't have the link but you can find it in the articles of Dr.Andrew Cunningham from the London Zoologycal Society)


It's not so much but I'll continue.


Arvak.

Offline lisa

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« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2008, 06:41 AM »
 :o Rimadyl is the drug (strong painkiller) that our vet prescribed for our dog. We considered leaving her body on a mountain to feed the vultures! Luckily we buried her instead. Does anyone know all the generic names for these drugs? And I'm sorry, I must have missed this bit somewhere, what does NSAID stand for (mean)?
I'm going to check all our veterinary drugs now........
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2008, 07:13 AM »
O.K. - for me and any other dunces, Diclofenac is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug.
Apologies if this link is already here, www.vulturerescue.org, but it won't hurt to have it twice.
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Offline arvak

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« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2008, 23:51 PM »
Hello all,

In my friend's answer the last idea she wrote was that since the problem with the Krewtfeld Jackobs desease ("enfermedad de las vacas locas") it is forbidden to leave animal corps uncontrolled for vultures feeding. Obviously she was thinking only in EU laws.

The example of your dog has made me think about the risks of the prescriptions in the normal pet clinic that are important even after the death of the patient.
I'll explain:

              At first i identified the problem only in Asia and only to the vultures that can travel every year. I never thought that one of my customers could decide this end to his Pet's body,(but it's not impossible).

              As i wrote , i use NSAIDs as less as possible because of the gastroenteric disorders, they are really good "painkillers"in arthritis problems but not all the patients can afford them. Other drugs like opioid have good analgesic power but the targets are different.

              The use of MELOXICAM  (METACAN, BöERINGER INGRLHEIM) is very extended, but the CARPROFEN (RIMADYL, PFIZER, OR CANIDRYL, ESTEVE LABs) produces less digestive problems to the patient.

          Thank you for open my eyes.

Arvak.

Clive: The only places where I've found drugs with diclofenac are from HispanoAmerican countries. I guess that it must be a very cheap group of medicines.

Offline Clive

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« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2008, 12:04 PM »
Hi all,

Here is a PDF from the 2004 British Ecological Society, Journal of Applied, Ecology
Diclofenac poisoning as a cause of vulture population declines across the Indian subcontinent
http://www.vulturerescue.org/JAppliedEcol%20Vulture.pdf

So, If Lisa's dog was placed for vultures to eat.. (Something that I think is a noble thing to do by the way). Then would the griffons that ate the body die? What quantity of rimidyl in a cadaver is enough to have an effect...?

I can't find a definitive list of NSAIDS that kill vultures... Can anyone else?

This topic is producing a lot more questions than answers...

What if the other NSAIDS are not as deadly as diclofenac... What if collected sick vultures are treated for "poisoning", recuperated and released again like this one... http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=865.0

What I would like to find is a list of the known drugs that cause a problem that are available and widely used in Spain...

I am almost at the point of moving this topic to the main Spain boards but I would like to have an answer to some of the emails I have been sending out first....

Clive

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Offline arvak

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« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2008, 14:18 PM »
Hi all
 
When a laboratory tries to find a drug and to register it for human or animal use , it's necessary  to know the LD50 ( Lethal dose that kills the 50% of the Lab. animals in the test) . Then they extrapolate with mathematical figures and other tools like cellular cultures etc.

I think that at the moment it's impossible to find the LD50 if the investigations are based only with death vultures.

I'll ask about this to specialists.

Rgs. Arvak

Offline arvak

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« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2008, 21:17 PM »
Again I'm here,

     I've found another medicine that includes diclofenac and is comonly used and easy to buy here in Spain. It's called VOLTAREN. It's registered for human use but i know many vets that have used it. You can find it as pills and as a gel. It belongs to GEIGY Labs.

     I've met a vet that is working for other laboratory that is trying to introduce a new drug with antiinflamatory power and i told him that if he can confirm that it's save for the vultures i would only use his drug. At first he has shown interest in the subject and he will ask for more information in the next meeting (next Monday). I gave him the idea about giving to a "becario" (help, Technopat) this subject as a thesis work.

     Well, I'll tell you as soon as he answer me.


Rgs. Arvak.




Offline Clive

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« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2008, 23:34 PM »
Hi all,

I have had a reply from one of my letters....

Quote
Dear Clive and Sue,
 
Very pleased that this issue is being picked up on by your group. I think you are quite correct to be concerned, and you've collectively defined the concerns quite clearly. You are right that we are concerned about the safety of flunixin and carprofen, although this is not properly tested - just rather anecdotal information raising the concern, and proper testing on vultures is of course a huge undertaking.
 
Your questions about diclofenac use and licensing in Morocco are entirely valid, and I'm afraid we have almost no information on this apart from a little in East Africa. Diclofenac is very popular as a human drug (even in India, 90% of the market was human) and we have shied away from even asking for it to be banned in India, where we have only so far been successful in getting the manufacture of veterinary formulations banned two years ago. Getting safe alternatives in to common veterinary practice seems to be the best option (only meloxicam so far), but as you say, the dependence on cattle carcasses in these places may well be reducing the scale of the potential problem. It just seems on the face of it to be a problem that could be avoided before diclofenac has become an established veterinary drug. I went to the OIE meeting in Senegal in March to get the message across to senior veterinary drug officials from all African countries... its a big job to reach them all and remain vigilant.
 
Presumably the Iberian griffons go further south than just Morocco? So it may be a wider issue for you too?
 
I've attached one or two relevant materials. We are overstretched to address the issue in Asia, so hoping that you are able to stir up more interest in the issue and to follow up further. I hope this helps and will be very pleased to hear any more on the issue from you.
 
With thanks,
Chris Bowden
International Species Recovery Officer
RSPB UK Headquarters, The Lodge, Sandy, Beds SG19 2DL, UK

So taking into account this reply coupled with ArvaKs latest post about Diclofenac being used in Spain by vets I think I will move this topic to an Iberian board...

Clive

« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 23:40 PM by Clive »
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2008, 23:53 PM »
Hi all

The attached PDF document explains very briefly about issues arising in Africa. It also mentions something about Europe and diclofenac law...

Quote
Diclofenac is not licensed for veterinary use in Europe or North America; however it should be noted that diclofenac is widely licensed for medical use for treating human ailments. There are alternative NSAID veterinary drugs available, e.g. Meloxicam, that do not harm vultures so there is actually no need for veterinary diclofenac at all.

Arvaks news that vets in Spain are using diclofenac on animals that is meant for human use only is very worrying....

Clive

PS... Arvak, the word you are looking for would be a graduate university student or something like that who could make a study as part of his/her work shcedule
« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 23:57 PM by Clive »
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Offline arvak

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« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2008, 17:38 PM »
I think that the main problem is not with the vets that work with dogs and cats. I've asked to 7 vets that attend cows and horses and the principal NSAID that they use is FLUNIXIN MEGLUMINE, (FINADYNE), but almost all of them told me that many times they have been told by their customers that they have given voltaren to the animals in spite of calling them.


Rgs. Arvak.

Offline Clive

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« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2008, 21:14 PM »
Hi all,

Had a reply from Birdlife International

Quote
Dear Clive,

I’m terribly sorry, I had your email below passed on to me on the 5th and thought that I’d given a reply but it seems I haven’t (though at the time I did pass this on to our communications team as it seems to be a very interesting and potentially serious issue). Having discussed with Ian Burfield who works in our European Division, in short, BirdLife does not hold the specific information about Gyps fulvus movements across the Straits of Gibraltar. We both felt that your best bet for this would be to contact SEO, the BirdLife partner in Spain whose details can be found at http://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/national/spain/index.html . In reference to whether Diclofenac is likely to be a threat to birds that move into Morocco, I think at this stage there is no evidence for this as the drug as, as far as I know, only been recorded in East Africa within the continent. However, I cc here Chris Bowden who is heavily involved in RSPBs work on Gyps vultures in India and he may wish to comment further. I don’t know whether Morocco has banned the drug for veterinary use.

Sorry for the long delay in responding to you and sorry not to be more helpful, good luck with your further research.

Best wishes,
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2008, 15:46 PM »
Hi all,

Although this latest from Birdlife international is about Africa, it's still pertinent to Iberian Griffons because at some point in the future the sale of diclofenac will affect the European birds that migrate to the African continent...
http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2008/06/Unlicensed_diclofenac_vulture.html

Quote
Unlicensed diclofenac still on sale in Tanzania

20-06-2008

A recent visitor to the Shoprite Complex veterinary retail shop in Arusha, Tanzania, reports that diclofenac is still on sale there. Diclofenac, which causes kidney failure in vultures, has been responsible for the near-extinction of three Gyps vulture species in India, with a decline of 99.9 percent in the case of Critically Endangered White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis.
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