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Novel Method to Provide Analgesia in Neonates through Transmammary Drug Delivery

An ongoing multidisciplinary collaboration between Iowa State University and Kansas State University has led to the development of a novel, patent-pending method for prolonged analgesia during routine animal husbandry practices in neonates. Pain experienced during these routine practices is an area of growing consumer concern. One example of the impact this has had on livestock production practices is a recent European directive mandating the use of prolonged analgesia during surgical castration in pigs. Given that future access to international markets will require compliance with emerging animal welfare regulations, it is critical that U.S. livestock producers develop practical and cost-effective strategies to provide analgesia at the time of processing.

Transmammary transfer of drugs from the mother to the offspring is an attractive option for providing pain relief because this reduces animal stress and labor expense, and lowers the total cost of individual treatments. For example, this approach allows delivery of pain relief drugs via maternal feed for several days, thus providing long-term reduction of post-surgical pain and inflammation in the offspring that are consuming medicated milk produced by the dam. An additional benefit may be periparturient analgesia for the mother when production practices in the offspring occur during that period.


The ISU-K-State team recently published the pharmacokinetics of the NSAID, meloxicam, in sows. Target animal safety studies demonstrating the safety of meloxicam at high doses in cattle and pigs was also completed. This data has led to the development of a mathematical model that describes the pharmacokinetics and translactational transfer of meloxicam from the lactating dam to nursing offspring. This tool will provide livestock producers with a practical method of reducing pain and potentially disease in offspring across a wide variety of production environments, litter sizes and birth weights.

-Prolonged analgesia for neonates during routine animal husbandry practices
-Cost effective strategy for reducing pain and stress in neonates
-Lowers cost of individual treatment
-Potential reduction in disease in offspring due to less stress and pain

-New animal pharmaceutical products

-Provisional patent application was filed in March 2015.

Additional Details


Kansas State University

Intellectual Property Protection

Pending Patent

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