Flunixin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) approved for use in cattle for control of inflammation in endotoxemia and for the control of fever associated with mastitis, bovine respiratory disease, and endotoxemia. It is used on dairy farms, including Miner Institute, under the supervision of a veterinarian, write Heather Dann and Anna Pape in the January 2013 issue of the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute Farm Report.

Currently, flunixin is labeled for intravenous (IV) administration at a dose of 2.2 mg/kg every 24 hours or 1.1 mg/kg every 12 hours. With this route of administration, cattle can’t be slaughtered for 4 days following the last injection and the milk can’t be sold for 36 hours. Cows treated with flunixin often feel better and return to eating and drinking sooner so this has led some producers to misuse flunixin on a range of sick cows with minimal veterinary supervision and increase the risk of residue in meat and milk.

The USDA Food Safety Inspection Service reported an increase in the number of residue violations in culled dairy cows from 2005 to 2010 with flunixin the second most common residue violation. Penicillin was #1. The high number of flunixin residues identified in culled dairy cows is likely related to the administration of the drug by unapproved routes.

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Source: William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute Farm Report, January 2013