A new research paper by a veterinary expert has found out that aceclofenac, a veterinary painkiller widely used by veterinary practitioners to treat cattle and dogs, can be potentially dangerous to vultures that feed on cattle carcasses.
In the paper titled ‘Aceclofenac as a potential threat to the critically endangered vultures in India’, published in the Journal of Raptor Research, author Pradeep Sharma says that like diclofenac, aceclofenac is equally dangerous to vultures as it gets metabolised into diclofenac.
Diclofenac was banned in India in 2006 after it was found that vultures were dying after they ate cattle carcasses treated with the drug. The fatal impact of diclofenac was studied across three south Asian vulture species - white-backed, long-billed and slender-billed. They suffered a decline of about 99% over the past decade.
“In order to create a safe natural environment for vultures in South Asia, banning unsafe drugs and safety testing of potentially toxic drugs should be a priority,” said Asad Rahmani, director, Bombay Natural History Society, a non-profit organisation.
Sharma works in the Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Science, Bikaner. During the study, interactions with practicing veterinarians, veterinary sale representatives and dealers in Rajasthan revealed that practitioners considered aceclofenac a cost-effective and clinically effective substitute for diclofenac.
The market share of aceclofenac had increased in the past two years, says the study.
The paper highlights the presence and involvement of diclofenac and its metabolites in monkeys, rats, humans and dogs suggested qualitative similarities in the aceclofenac metabolism. HTC