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International Journal of Pure and Applied Zoology ISSN (Print) : 2320-9577
Vol. 1, Issue 3, pp: 205-208, 2013
2013 Rishan Publications http://www.ijpaz.com

Research Article

Rabindra Kumar Mandal1 and Kapil Kishor Khadka2*
1Department of Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA. *2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA
Article History: Received 15th July 2013; Revised form 29th July 2013; Accepted 6th August 2013; Published online 10th August 2013
Diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), used among livestock have been found to have a detrimental effect on scavengers including Gyps vultures contributing to a dramatic decline of the population in the Indian subcontinent. In an attempt to assess the status of different NSAIDs including diclofenac use and trade, the current study was conducted in eastern part of Nepal and adjoining areas in India. Despite its ban in use and trade, diclofenac was found to be in use in veterinary practices and was illegally kept for sale. The finding warrants an immediate concern, monitoring, awareness, and actions to curb the use and trade of this environmental poison for the recovery and conservation of Gyps vultures. Keywords: NSAIDs, meloxicam, diclofenac, vulture, conservation.
Gyps bengalensis in India (Gilbert et al., 2002). Diclofenac is associated with renal failure and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) subsequent death of these birds (Oaks et al., 2004). This has contributed to a dramatic therapeutic agents and have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic effect. Administered (G. bengalensis, G. indicus, and G. tenuirostris) orally and/or via injection, NSAIDs are primarily of these raptors in the Indian subcontinent. used to control post-operative pain, arthritis, joint Owing to this catastrophic decline, these species pain, and inflammatory oedema. The downside is now appear in critically endangered list by that these drugs have certain side effects like Birdlife International (Birdlife International, gastrointestinal disturbances, renal disturbances 2001). Moreover, habitat loss, food scarcity, and skin reactions such as rashes, urticaria and disease, pesticides, environmental contamination, photosensitivity for examples (Roy, 2004). poisoning, calcium deficiency, nest predators, Diclofenac, a non steroid anti-inflammatory hunting, and aircraft strikes have also contributed drug, is widely used for a variety of painful and to the decline of the birds (Prakash, 1999 and inflammatory conditions in livestock in the Indian subcontinent. Indiscriminate use of potentially harmful NSAIDs and consumption of Administration (DDA) announced a ban on the diclofenac treated carcasses by Gyps vultures manufacture and import of diclofenac in Nepal in have been found to be a primary cause of their June 2006 as a response to the fatal effect of the population decline in Asia (Watson et al., 2004; drug. In the same announcement, the DDA also Green et al., 2004; Oaks et al., 2004 and Shultz circulated information to all the country’s et al., 2004). For example, a population crash of pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce an more than 95% starting in 1990s was noted in alternative drug meloxicam. NSAID meloxicam *Corresponding author e-mail: kkkhadka@email.uark.edu Rabindra Kumar Mandal and Kapil Kishor Khadka J. Pure Appl. Zool., 1(3): 205-208, 2013 has been found as a safe alternative to diclofenac their availability, and price were prepared and (Cuthbert et al., 2006) and is considered asked to the veterinary shopkeepers. Moreover, harmless for Gyps vulture (Swan et al., 2006 and respondents were asked about their attitude Swarup et al., 2006). Ban on diclofenac use has towards the current status of diclofenac use in indeed been found to reduce the mortality of veterinary practice and the level of awareness on these birds and, thus, has provided positive sign of recovery (Aryal, 2010 and Ramakrishnan et al., 2010). Thus, complete ban on use of diclofenac appears to be a paramount (if not silver-bullet) step for Gyps vultures’ recovery. A total of 50 veterinary shops in Nepal and a This, however, requires monitoring of the total of 15 shops in adjoining area in India were population and NSAIDs sale by veterinary shop surveyed during the first quarter of 2012. Nine in the areas of concern. The present study aims to different types of NSAIDs were found to be in assess the status of NSAIDs sale and use in use and kept for sale in the veterinary shops of eastern part of Nepal and adjoining border Eastern Nepal and adjoining border areas in India markets in India. It is expected that the findings (Table 1). Surprisingly, NSAID diclofenac which will be an invaluable source and gateway for was considered to be banned and expected not to further steps to Gyps vulture conservation plan. be found also appeared in the list. Of notable was the price of diclofenac compared to the other MATERIALS AND METHODS
NSAIDs. A 30-ml vial of diclofenac was found to be cheaper compared to 30-ml of vials of the The study was conducted in the major markets of other NSAIDs. Meloxicam, diclofenac, and Eastern Nepal (Saptari, Sunsari, Morang) and nimesulide contributed significant portion of adjoining border markets (Fulkaha, Ghurna, NSAIDs in the studied shops (Figure 1). All the veterinary practitioners, however, were found to Questionnaires on different types of NSAIDs, be aware of the detrimental effect of diclofenac. Table 1. NSAIDs found in veterinary practices in the study area.
INR refers to Indian currency. *=No. of veterinary shops in India. **= Is an antispasmodic drug. Rabindra Kumar Mandal and Kapil Kishor Khadka J. Pure Appl. Zool., 1(3): 205-208, 2013 Figure 1. Major NSAIDs in veterinary practice in the study area.
NSAIDs to ascertain that the recovery of Gyps vulture is hindered by diclofenac use in the area Despite a ban on diclofenac use and trade, it still and that the other NSAIDs used are safe to the appears to be in indiscriminate use among veterinary practices in the area as indicated by their availability in the veterinary shops. This, Conservation of Gyps vultures is crucial for however, could be due to low prices of the drug ecological, economic, cultural, and religious compared to other NSAIDs. Such a continued significance (Houston and Cooper, 1975; Schuz use and sell of diclofenac despite its known and Konig, 1983 and World Health Organization, negative effects could potentially be detrimental 1998), and thus their losses have important to Gyps vultures’ recovery. Thus, it warrants an immediate concern and effective vigilance on the trade of such drugs. Also, the local people and CONCLUSION
existing shops need to be made aware of the We suggest for more rigorous steps and actions fatality of diclofenac (Oaks et al., 2004 and to make the available food to these lords of sky Shultz et. al., 2004). Although the veterinary free of harmful NSAIDs for their potential practitioners are aware of the negative impacts of recovery and consequent ecosystem integrity. the drug, individual local people still need to be We believe that only ban on these harmful made responsive. Availability of meloxicam in NSAIDs (diclofenac for example) is not a silver- almost all the shops, however, provides a hook bullet to the threats and panacea to the Gyps for hope of its use as a substitute of diclofenac in population recovery. Nonetheless, complete the future. This potentially requires some stoppage on use of such veterinary drug is arguably of utmost importance. Besides, a thorough and long term study needs to be alternative (Cuthbert et al., 2006). Besides, local conducted to uncover the prime causal factor for governing bodies and conservation authorities Gyps vultures’ population decline and pragmatic should monitor the veterinary shops regularly. High mortality rates and breeding failure has resulted to population crash of Gyps vulture in CONFLICT OF INTERESTS
the Indian subcontinent which likely lead to The author declares that there is no conflict of extinction if the underlying threats are not addressed (Birdlife International, 2001 and Virani et al., 2001). Since veterinary diclofenac residues is believed to be a prime cause of ACKNOWLEDGMENT
mortality of Gyps vultures (Oaks et al., 2004), We would like to thank Dr. Hem Sagar Baral for use and trade of these NSAIDs needs to be stopped immediately. Also, the carcasses should his guidance and Himalayan Nature for funding be frequently examined for diclofenac and other Rabindra Kumar Mandal and Kapil Kishor Khadka J. Pure Appl. Zool., 1(3): 205-208, 2013 REFERENCES
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