Following concerns about the supply of raw materials used to make the local anaesthetic, procaine hydrochloride, the Veterinary Medicine Directorate has confirmed that Pronestesic is currently available from suppliers, with normal UK availability of other procaine hydrochloride products expected in May 2019.

Till then, veterinary surgeons are advised to make due diligent attempts to source a UK-authorised product before considering importing an alternative medicine.

Procaine hydrochloride is used in farm animal medicine in particular, to provide local and regional anaesthesia for a range of procedures including calving, lambing, caesarean operations, castration and dehorning of cattle, with demand particularly high in the spring.

Simon Doherty, BVA President, said: "We’re pleased that VMD has issued some clarification to answer our concerns over procaine hydrochloride shortages. BVA had heard from some veterinary practices that they were only able to get hold of a fraction of what they needed, which would have resulted in a very acute impact on farm animal welfare. Although we had moved to get assurances sooner, we appreciate that there are formal routes for reporting and that the announcement of any shortage must be handled sensitively to avoid exacerbating the problem.

"VMD’s clarification is especially timely as this is a period of peak seasonal demand for these products. We will keep our members closely informed of any further developments."

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