Exciting news! Dechra now distributes Numnuts and NumOcaine, aligning with our product range dedicated to animal welfare. These solutions offer compassionate over-the-counter practical options for animal husbandry procedures and are readily available nationwide.

Our online store is now closed, however, click here to find out how to buy Numnuts products. Thank you for your continued support.

Local Anaesthetic with Quick Change Cartridge (QCC) Technology

Designed for safety and speed in the farm environment, and developed in collaboration with CSIRO, Meat & Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation and Moredun Research Institute

What is NumOcaine?

NumOcaine is the approved local anaesthetic for Numnuts. It works by affecting the permeability of nerve cell membranes to sodium ions, thus blocking nerve impulse transmission. All nerves are effected but those concerned with pain and temperature are most sensitive. Onset of action is rapid when given by injection.

Give Them Targeted Pain Relief

Engineered to work around your current process for tail docking and castration with elastrator rings. NumOcaine comes in 100mL bottles, giving roughly 65 procedures per bottle


The QCC technology removes the need for cumbersome tubes.

Fast Setup

QCC technology enables fast broaching and attachment to the Numnuts device.


The QCC acts as tamper security so you know you’re buying genuine NumOcaine. It also limits access to the local anaesthetic when not attached to a Numnuts device.

How to Use

It’s designed to be simple and fast. Simply give the orange cap a 1/4 twist then push the orange cap down to broach the bottle and twist the bottle onto the Numnuts device.

To prime, open the tool lightly and press the plunger 2-3 times until you see the fluid chamber fill up.

Watch how it works with the Numnuts applicator here 

Quality Controlled

At the point of assembly, we run each QCC through a test exercise to check it’s fit for purpose before it is attached to a NumOcaine bottles and distributed. We do this with the QCC’s  to ensure success on the field.

Pain Relief Makes Business Sense

A farmer’s goal is for their animals to grow as quickly as possible. Setbacks  – when animals stop growing or even lose weight – must be avoided or minimised. Well-evidenced veterinary research has highlighted that severe pain can restrict healthy development. 

Why Local

30 years of veterinary research carried out in New Zealand, Australia and the UK has identified injectable local anaesthetic as the preferred solution for pain relief during castration and tail docking with rings. It provides fast acting pain relief in the first 45 minutes, when lambs experience the most acute pain caused by the loss of blood flow.

Local anaesthetics are very fast acting and block this pain.

A long-established practice for tail docking and castration (collectively known as ‘marking’) is the application of rubber Elastrator® rings. Research shows that marked animals experience acute ischemic pain, which is most severe 15 – 45 minutes after ring application. This pain manifests visually as abnormal behaviour, including lying down, rolling around and mis-mothering.

Current marking practices are coming under increased scrutiny from animal welfare groups, particularly when carried out on older animals. In the UK, legislation from 1954 makes it illegal to use a rubber ring on lambs more than 7 days old without local anaesthetic. A growing consumer trend is to buy products demonstrating higher animal welfare.

Pain Management Options for Tail Docking and Castration

Local Anaesthetic
Buccalgesic® | Metacam®
  • Blocks pain and sensory function is lost
  • Quick acting: takes effect in
    1 – 5 minutes
  • Not long-lasting
  • Subcutaneous injection desensitizes a defined location
  • Relieves pain but retains most sensory function
  • Slower to act: takes effect in
    10 – 15 minutes
  • Longer-lasting
  • Systemic action following oral administration or subcutaneous injection

Numnuts delivers Targeted Pain Relief for Tail Docking and Castration

For many years, veterinary research has shown that pain after marking can be alleviated by local anaesthetic. However, until now, the risk of needle stick injury to the farmer, the time required to administer the drug by needle and syringe, and uncertainty about how and where to administer it have created a barrier to use of local anaesthetics by farmers. 

“We can’t obliterate pain for humans yet and we certainly can’t obliterate it for animals, but we can make a difference to the level of pain experienced.”

Numnuts is a game changer, enabling sheep handlers to accurately inject local anaesthetic (NumOcaine®) at the same time as ring application.

In trials conducted by CSIRO and the University of Melbourne, Numnuts substantially reduced the number of lambs displaying pain behaviours immediately after marking.

  • Up to 68% reduction in pain-related behaviours
  • Faster mothering-up
  • Reduction in mis-mothering

With any assessment of pain there is a massive grey scale. Like with humans, some lambs are very stoic and will just ‘grit their teeth’ and bear it, whereas others show a wide range of pain behaviours.

As with other on-farm pain management practices, Numnuts does not eliminate pain. However, veterinary field trials in the UK and Australia have demonstrated a substantial reduction in pain behaviours compared to lambs marked without Numnuts.


The Effectiveness of Numnuts

The efficacy of Numnuts has been studied in field trials by CSIRO in Australia, and in pen trials by Moredun Research Institute in Scotland. During Numnuts’ development, more than 1000 lambs have been studied.

  • Lambs were noticeably more relaxed when released from the cradle
  • The number of pain behaviours observed were reduced by up to 68%

Register My Interest and Become Eligible to Distribute NumOcaine