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Australian Wool Innovation Limited
Emily King
Manager, Woolgrower Education & Capacity Building
ARTICLES >> Livestock Articles

Novel technologies warrant further research for flystrike prevention

Posted by Bestprac on Jul 01 2013

Australian Wool Innovation Limited

Early trials of two technologies currently used to treat human conditions warrant further research as potential flystrike prevention alternatives according to Australian Wool Innovation (AWI). 

Over the last 18 months, AWI has conducted early scoping studies using liquid Nitrogen and laser treatments and AWI and researchers have concluded both treatments deserve further investigation.

Flystrike prevention is AWI's top research priority. Since 2005, AWI has invested $45 million in animal health and welfare research, development and extension (RD&E), including over $26 million on flystrike prevention. The AWI Managing Breech Flystrike Manual is available here or by phoning the AWI Helpline on 1800 070 099.

Liquid Nitrogen has shown a proof of concept with the technology demonstrating the potential to reduce wrinkle scores and increase bare area on both the tail and breech of treated animals, with minimal welfare impacts. The trials have been conducted by Steinfort AgVet Pty Ltd, Victoria.

Three scoping studies have used liquid Nitrogen in the same way it is used when removing unwanted skin conditions in humans: freezing the treated area which subsequently forms a scar that lifts off over subsequent weeks. The result is a tightening of the surrounding skin and the reduction in wrinkle.

A scoping study using laser treatment to potentially remove wool from around the breech and tail have not yet demonstrated a proof of concept. The research has been conducted by Zeta LLC of Colorado, USA and while not successful to date, the potential this alternative offers warrants further investigation according to AWI.

The laser treatment is similar to that used to remove human hair and treated animals have shown minimal discomfort with the application.

Meanwhile the latest results for the Sodium Lauryl Sulphate treatment known as SkinTraction® were presented at the AWI R&D update and are available here. The technology has been trialled since 2007 and an application is currently with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for registration approval which is required before further development into its commercialisation occurs.

It is important to note that it takes many years to take a technology from proof of concept to commercialisation and there is often a large attrition rate in doing so.

For more information regarding breech flystrike alternatives see the article in the new edition of Beyond the Bale, now available free and online.

Last changed: Jul 02 2013



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