- This topic has 8 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated by Rachel.
April 15, 2021 at 7:26 am #634clive
As far back as 2008 Diclofenac,NSAIDS and the threat to Iberian vultures was a hot topic at the Iberia Nature Forum. It ran into many pages and had over 25,000 views in just a few weeks. This is the original post from back then with the links to the relevant articles at the time.
Diclofenac,NSAIDS and the threat to Iberian vultures
« on: May 02, 2008, 09:14 AM »
Reading the latest from the BBC about diclofenac and the Asian vulture population decimation it seems whilst there are people working really hard to help reduce the damage, the pharmaceutical companies are just selling the stuff as normal…http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7373381.stm
With the news that Diclofenac is now available in Africa it won’t be long before we see problems with the Iberian migratory Griffons that cross the straits of Gibraltar every year… I still don’t have any estimated numbers of migrants passing this way and also I am under the impression that some griffons this far south in Andalucia make regular trips across to Morocco during the year depending on carrion food supply…
Here is the RSBP link: http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/details.asp?id=tcm:9-188408
And now diclofenac rears its ugly head again with the news that vultures are dying in Spain due to diclofenac poisoining. (Diclofenac was approved in Spain and other European nations in recent years because farmers, drug companies and regulators argued that cattle carcasses were disposed of differently in Europe than in India. This meant vultures would not be able to eat meat tainted with diclofenac).
Here is the latest article at the Guardian newspaper: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/11/rare-european-vultures-being-poisoned-by-livestock-drug
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April 15, 2021 at 7:36 am #636Helen
- This topic was modified 1 year ago by clive.
- This topic was modified 1 year ago by clive.
Oh dear… It does seem that there is now a proven case of a Black vulture juvenile death caused by diclofenac…. (Last september) It has taken a long time for it to come into the mainstream press though.
The page at VCF has the better updated information: https://www.4vultures.org/first-evidence-of-a-vulture-killed-by-veterinary-diclofenac-in-spain/
Breathe and try to be nice to people 🙂April 15, 2021 at 8:03 am #638Carl
The article on the birdlife website also has published information on this… It’s so sad to hear that this is still a problem when there are alternative drugs that do the same thing but don’t harm our wildlife
Here is the article at Birdlife: http://www.birdlife.org/europe-and-central-asia/news/diclofenac-poisons-cinerous-vulture-spainApril 15, 2021 at 8:29 am #639Rachel
I found the original study that is linked from the articles previously mentioned. I dont have a member account though so can only see the abstract.
Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with a well-known toxicity for old world vultures that ingest the carrion of domestic animals treated with it. Diclofenac intoxication was directly related to the dramatic declines in the populations of three native South Asian Gyps vulture species two decades ago. In 2013, this NSAID was authorised for veterinary use in Spain, which has the largest vulture populations in Europe. One of these species is the cinereous vulture ( Aegypius monachus ), which is classified as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This species has been reintroduced and monitored in Catalonia (NE Spain) since 2007, and in 2020 its current population consisted of 15 breeding pairs and a total number of 61 individuals. In September 2020, one fledgling was found dead in the nest. Post-mortem examination revealed severe generalised visceral and articular gout, which was confirmed histologically. Diclofenac was detected at average concentrations of 26.5 ng/g in the liver and 51.4 ng/g in kidney replicates (n = 3), respectively. These findings support a diagnosis of fatal gout caused by diclofenac intoxication. This is the first case of diclofenac poisoning in Spain (and in Europe), in addition to being the first report of diclofenac poisoning in cinereous vultures. This case report, therefore, supports the need to closely monitor vulture populations and carry out strict regulatory measures with which to prevent these poisonings.April 15, 2021 at 8:40 am #640Helen
It would seem that there have already been death’s from another steroidal drug called Flunixin. Halfway down on this page it clearly states that some vultures in Spain have died from it. https://www.4vultures.org/first-evidence-of-a-vulture-killed-by-veterinary-diclofenac-in-spain/
According to the data presented in the paper, veterinary diclofenac was detected at average concentrations of 26.5 ng/g in the liver and 51.4 ng/g in kidney replicates (n=3), respectively of this Cinereous Vulture. Before, researchers in Spain had already shown that veterinary diclofenac was present in 0,44% of carcasses sampled in supplementary feeding sites in Spain, suggesting it was a matter of time before the first intoxicated vulture would be found. Studies also found that about 1% of dead vultures sampled had Fluxinin residues in the liver or kidney. Fluxinin is also toxic to vultures, and several dead Griffon Vultures have already been killed by Flunixin poisoning in Spain.
Flunixin meglumine is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and cyclooxygenase inhibitor. It is a potent analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory. NSAIDs work by inhibiting the body’s production of prostaglandins and other chemicals that stimulate the body’s inflammatory response.
Breathe and try to be nice to people 🙂April 18, 2021 at 1:31 pm #660StraitsBirder
I posted this on your facebook post Clive but I thought it also useful here to inform the conversation:
I previously worked on this so it is something close to my heart / major concerns. The reason why it was licensed in the EU was it was concluded that animal husbandry was quite different to that of Asia where the problem was so acute and that as an anti-inflammatory it would be used much more sparingly therefore the EU went ahead and granted the licence, now we have this confirmed case (and there have been others suspected) then it should instigate a review of the licensing and hopefully a ban. Also diclofenac isn’t just about Vultures it will likely kill (or leave dangerous residue levels) other species such as Spanish Imperial Eagle too! Basically pretty much all carrion eating birds feeding on that one treated animal could likely die from renal failure! (or present dangerous levels of residues). The vast majority of Europes Vultures are found here in Spain so it we require an urgent review and hopefully subsequent removal of the licence and a ban. If the EU can do this for neonicotinoids from peer reviewed studies and impressively against fierce industry lobbying…..albeit it took until January 2020 some 5 years after the initial product reviews!
…In addition I think SEO / Birdlife international will need to take this opportunity along with other conservation agencies to intensely lobby for removal of the licence for diclofenac in Spain and across the EU. Given the vast majority of Europe’s Vultures are here in Spain then at the very least a removal from the use here…please!!
April 19, 2021 at 1:07 pm #662clive
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by StraitsBirder.
Be great if more people did that StraitsBirder 🙂 It’s like pulling teeth getting people away from facebook!
Thanks for the update but I fear the EU review on this vetinary product will be a long time coming….
September 13, 2021 at 3:59 pm #992Carl
Some good news published on the VCF website as another alternative drug has been found that doesn’t poison vultures…
Experts have been trying to identify another vulture-safe NSAID for years now, but with no luck. So, it is with great enthusiasm that a systematic safety testing study has finally identified tolfenamic acid as the second confirmed vulture-safe NSAID after Meloxicam. The study, led by the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), gave doses of tolfenamic acid by oral gavage to a total of 38 wild-caught Himalayan Griffon Vultures, along with single captive White-rumped and Long-billed Vultures from the conservation breeding population. The doses represented the maximum possible level that birds would encounter when feeding on carcasses in the wild, which was calculated by diclofenac concentrations found in cattle carcasses in India. In addition, researchers fed four Himalayan Griffons with buffalo meat from animals given double the recommended dose of Tolfenamic acid before dying. Although two of them died, all the other vultures survived without an increase in uric acid levels in the blood, which is what typically signifies kidney failure caused by NSAID poisoning.September 13, 2021 at 4:04 pm #993Rachel
Hi Carl…. thanks for posting that its good news indeed and another step forward hopefully… I find the last paragraph on the article you linked to really worrying though… Spain is still using diclofenac….
It’s time to ban Diclofenac in Europe!
We are very pleased with this development and hope that the veterinary community will start using Tolfenamic acid along with Meloxicam, avoiding any use of other NSAIDs that are not safe or have not been tested yet. Despite the proven adverse effects of Diclofenac on vulture populations, some countries within the EU approved the use of the drug for veterinary purposes over the last ten years, including Spain, home to approximately 90% of the European vulture population. The Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF), together with other environmental groups, widely advocated for the ban of vet drug Diclofenac in Europe. Following a thorough process that included public consultation with several stakeholders, the EU has recognised that veterinary Diclofenac indeed posed a risk to vultures but considered that the current system of managing livestock in Europe would prevent the drug from entering the vulture food chain. As it turns out, though, a Cinereous Vulture did die from Diclofenac in Spain, proving that veterinary Diclofenac can kill vultures in Spain and Europe. The VCF urges the EU and Spanish authorities to consider a ban, especially now that two safe alternatives exist!
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