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September 01, 2021

In Short

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FDA may expand drug availability to more minor species

Rabbit looking over a low brick wall

Federal drug officials want help determining which drugs should be legally available for non–food-producing animals with few approved treatment options.

The Food and Drug Administration maintains an index of unapproved but legally marketed animal drugs intended for use in what the agency considers minor species, or nonhuman animals outside the seven major species: cats, cattle, chickens, dogs, horses, pigs, and turkeys. Under the current policy, the index applies only to drugs intended for species that never produce food for human consumption. Rabbits, for example, can be raised as pets or for food, so the index excludes applications for drugs used in rabbits.

On June 23, FDA officials announced they were seeking comments on whether the agency should expand eligibility to animals that never enter the food supply even though their species are considered food producing. Agency officials also want to know what information should be evaluated in determining eligibility of those species subsets and which animals in particular should be eligible for such drug approvals.

FDA officials are accepting comments through Sept. 22 under docket number FDA-2017-D-2462.

Zoo animal, wildlife research funded by AAZV

The Wild Animal Health Fund has awarded 14 grants for research on zoo animals and wildlife for the 2021-22 fiscal year totaling $158,000. The fund, which continues to grow and expand its portfolio in its 10th year, is a program of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

The new studies are as follows:

  • “Establishing stress levels and helminthes burdens of African elephants in Murchison Falls National Park Uganda.”
  • “Anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in owls and diurnal raptors from New Mexico.”
  • “Non-tuberculous mycobacteria in African wildlife and their environment as potential confounders to diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis.”
  • “Epidemiology, early diagnosis, control and prevention of anthrax in Grevy’s zebra in Kenya.”
  • “Sub-lethal effects of plastic ingestion in albatrosses and petrels: The southern giant petrel as a case study.”
  • “Investigating the comparative susceptibility of wildlife to SARS-CoV-2 through in situ mapping of the host cell receptor angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).”
  • “Analgesic effects and pharmacokinetics of hydromorphone in great horned owls (Bubo virginianus).”
  • “Improving the reproductive success in the black-footed ferret using new minimally invasive assisted reproductive techniques.”
  • “Machine learning–based assessment of elephant joint health and mobility.”
  • “Neonicotinoid pesticide exposure in wild passerines: Investigating links in an avian population crisis.”
  • “Evaluation of serum and liver copper concentrations and association with dietary factors in captive Baird’s tapirs (Tapirus bairdii).”
  • “Evaluation of mesenchymal stem cell therapy in loggerhead and green sea turtles with naturally occurring multidrug resistant bacterial infections.”
  • “Low dose opioid—high dose alpha-2 agonist combinations in African wildlife and novel tools to mitigate adverse effects.”
  • “Closing the gap on African elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV).”

Get more information about the Wild Animal Health Fund and the grants.