Ballistivet - Shooting Cows   

   Return to the Animal Health Page  


Ballistivet was a system developed to shoot pharmaceutical products into cattle and hogs using an air rifle. It was sold by a company in Minnesota. In 1990, Upjohn Animal Health was interested enough to try it out.
The advantages were said to be:

1. Treatment can be given earlier
2.  Less or no stress on the animal
3.  Less or no stress on person treating the animal
4.  Significant reduction in time taken to treat animal
5.  Greater worker safety and less potential for injury liability

Upjohn created a polymeric matrix of the antibiotic ceftiofur in the shape of a bullet. It was termed a "biobullet" and contained 100mg of ceftiofur. This biobullet was to be fired via an air rifle into cattle to treat them for pneumonia, footrot and pink eye. The product didnít get very far in development, mainly because of ethical concerns - it was too brutal on the cows. 

Here are a couple of articles on Ballistivet:

Ranchers Shoot Cattle with Biobullet Rifle

You can vaccinate cattle in one-third the time with one-third the labor you would normally need," says LP. Pollreisz, a veterinarian from Canyon, Texas who works with ranchers testing "Ballistivet", an air rifle that shoots "biobullets" into cattle from a range of 5 to 50 ft., eliminating the need to work cattle through chutes for "hands on" vaccination.

The Balistivet system uses a 25 caliber air rifle that shoots the special 600 to 640 milligram bullets at 850 ft. per second. The shooter aims for major muscle groups - usually in the neck or in the rear. The bullet makes a slight puncture wound that generally seals itself. It's rare that an animal will even bleed. In 10 min. after entering the muscle the medication has dissolved out of the biobullet. After 10 hrs. the biobullet has completely dissolved and in 10 days you can't find a trace of the bullet," says Pollreisz, noting that the system requires no mixing of medication so animals always get accurate doses, and it also eliminates the danger of cross-contamination.

The gun operates off an 18-cu. ft. compressed air tank pressurized to 2,200 psi. Cattle can be vaccinated in a walkway or in the feedlot. Pollreisz says the gun makes it possible to easily vaccinate 500 to 700 head of cattle in an hour compared to the three or four hours it would take several men to do the job with a chute.

So far the Ballistivet system has been used only on beef cattle. Other medications are currently being capsulized in biobullet form for use on dairy cattle and hogs. The gun and air tank sells for around $850. Biobullet doses sell for 20 to 50% more than conventional medicine. System is sold only through veterinarians to ensure proper training by applicators.

For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ballistivet Inc. P.O. Box 10812, 4756 Banning Row, White Bear Lake, Minn. 55110.

Los Angeles Times Bio Bullets Article - 1990

 

   Return to the Animal Health Page