Vets raise concern over sheep anthelmintic reclassification

25 August 2017

Anthelmintics are best prescribed by a vet as part of a flock health plan in order to safeguard the drugs' efficacy

British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Sheep Veterinary Society
(SVS) have expressed concern following the announcement by the Veterinary
Medicines Directorate (VMD) regarding the reclassification of Startect Dual
Active Oral Solution, an anthelmintic for sheep,
from POM-V to POM-VPS.

The reclassification of the drug, which is authorised for the
treatment and control of mixed gastro-intestinal nematode infections and
associated diseases of sheep, now legally permits pharmacists and suitably
qualified persons, as well as vets, to prescribe it.

British Veterinary Association Junior Vice President John Fishwick

"We know that resistance to anthelmintics is increasing in
grazing animals worldwide and needs to be addressed to avoid a potentially
disastrous situation of being unable to tackle parasites. The reclassification
of Startect Dual Active from POM-V to POM-VPS is in direct opposition to the
trend in Europe, where we are seeing increased control over dispensing of
anthelmintics in species where resistance is posing a serious threat to animal health,
welfare and profitable production; we're extremely concerned that we might
start seeing resistance develop in Group 5 as a result.

“BVA believes that the prescribing of anthelmintics requires a
level of control best provided by a veterinary surgeon who has the animals
under his/her care, and is based on a sound clinical diagnosis. The drugs are
best used as part of a flock health plan drawn up by farmers in conjunction
with their vet in order to protect animal health and welfare and safeguard the
efficacy of these products for the future."

Sheep Veterinary Society President Kathryn Dun said:

“Group 5 anthelmintics should be used
only as part of a careful designed strategy for the individual farm and it is
imperative that this strategy is worked out with a vet and is part of a flock
health plan for that farm. The products need to be used, in the correct way, to
help prolong the life of our other anthelmintics.

“We are unlikely to have any further
new groups of anthelmintics in the foreseeable future, so education of those
buying and selling these products is crucial to ensure the longevity of the
effective action of them against sheep parasites.”

Further information on BVA's policy on
anthelmintics can be found here: