June 2016 saw the launch of two new baits for wild dog (Dogabait) and fox (Foxecute) control containing the PAPP toxin. One of the positive aspects of the PAPP toxin is that it has an effective antidote if a working or pet dog accidentally eats a bait. However, the only approved methylene blue antidote product needs to be injected intravenously by a registered veterinarian within at least 60 minutes from ingestion.
Since 2007, the Blue-Healer project (funded previously through the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre) has evaluated the safety and efficacy of different methylene blue formulations and routes of administration with the goal that owners could treat accidentally poisoned working or pet dogs. This is a very challenging research task and no dog owner administered product is yet to be approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
However, despite the size of the challenge ahead, researchers still aimed to deliver one.
This stage of the Blue Healer project included testing an administration method that dog owners could use safely and, if that testing proves successful, to submit a registration application to the APVMA for a new veterinary medicine that dog owners and vets can both use.
Interim testing completed
Develop a best practice administration and post treatment guide for the veterinarian only methylene blue antidote.
Assessment and testing of a 2nd generation glovebox blue healer antidote containing methylene blue that is useable by veterinarians and dog owners who are remote from veterinary care.
This project is funded through an external research grant separate to the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions current innovation portfolio
Testing of multiple pathways completed, no current viable and safe alternative to the vet only intravenous administration route – see table below.
|Delivery pathway||Powder (aqueous)||Tablet / gel cap||Gel||IV formula|
|Oral||Not effective||Not effective|
|Anal||Not effective||Not effective|
As part of the most recent Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper funding, the safety and efficacy testing of the glovebox formulation and intraperitoneal administration pathway did not demonstrate that the product would be effective in reducing PAPP toxicosis in time to fully revive the affected animal and would be, at best, a first aid treatment. The volume of antidote that needed to be injected was quite large and would not have been suitable as a glovebox product even if it had been effective.
As such the antidote is still only available as an intravenous administration by a veterinary practitioner. The Australian Veterinary Association has released a co-branded fact sheet detailing best practice for vets for the intravenous administration of the already developed antidote to PAPP toxicosis – https://www.ava.com.au/node/73627
This project has reached a point of development where it appears further continuation is not warranted on technical grounds.