FAQ's - Tech Assistance

VetGun Delivery System-Frequently Asked Questions


                   ACTIVE INGREDIENT & CHEMICAL CLASS:  What are these for AiM-L Horn fly treatment?

A:  AiM-L is of the Synthetic Pyrethroid chemical class; with the active ingredient of Lambda Cyhalothrin with Piperonyl Butoxide.

                   AVAILABILITY:  Where can I purchase a VetGun; VetCaps and accessories?  

A:  VetGun is currently available in all US states except New York and Alaska. Find recommended retail pricing* for VetGun; AiM-L VetCaps and other products; along with where to find your nearest dealer or catalogue supplier at http://www.smartvet.com/shop.html

*prices may vary from dealer to dealer.

                   BEST SPOT: What’s the best spot and if I dose one side of the cow with AIM-L will the other side be protected as well?

A:  About 2/3 up the flank in the shoulder region. Just like you're used to with any pour-on, the insecticide migrates across the skin. Research conducted by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service showed no statistical difference between the fly numbers on the side of cows dosed with a synthetic pyrethroid when compared to the opposite side of the same animal. This indicates that the insecticide migrates effectively across the skin of the animal to provide extensive coverage.

                   BREAKAGES:  What if a VetCap breaks in the VetGun barrel?

A:  The VetGun kit includes a cleaning kit. Use it according to directions to clean out the barrel. If the kit is not readily available, remove all VetCaps and the Feeder Tube, then dry fire 3-4 shots to clear the barrel of any residue or pieces of the broken shell. Always point the VetGun in a safe direction, follow instructions in the VetGun Operation on manual and never look down the barrel !

                   CALVES: Can I treat calves?   

A:  AiM-L is EPA labelled to treat cattle 600lbs and above. Calves will get residual benefit when rubbing against others.

                   CO2 LASTING: How long will CO2 last in the prefilled canisters (25g & 90g) if left on the VetGun?  

A:  Generally up to 2 weeks depending on fit, rate of use and ambient temperature. If removed with adaptor, the 90g gas can be saved. The 25g however will leak all CO2 that is left if taken off the VetGun – even with the adapter still attached.

(see also ‘Gas Options’ below)

                   CO2 GAS OPTIONS:  What are the various gas options for VetGun and how many shots for each type? 

A: see ‘Gas Options’ below

                   CONTACT:  Who do I contact if I have technical problems with the VetGun?

A:  You will find the information to answer most of your questions about the VetGun or VetCap products in the VetGun Operation Manual; on the www.smartvet.com  website or in this FAQ's section. If you still have specific questions regarding the VetGun, AIM-L or its active ingredients Lambda Cyhalothrin or Piperonyl Butoxide, please contact an AgriLabs Technical Veterinary Specialist at 800-542-8916

                   COST OF VETGUN DELIVERY SYSTEM:  What is the cost /prices for the VetGun Delivery System ? 

A: visit http://www.smartvet.com/shop.html  for recommended retail pricing of currently available products.

                   COST & ECONOMICS - VETCAPS:  Aren’t the VetCaps expensive per treatment ?

A:  Horn flies interrupt cattle from grazing and cause significant animal stress. Horn flies can consume as much as one pint of blood per day, which can result in up to 33 percent reduction in natural weight gain in just 80 days. Conservatively, if not treated, this can cost a producer up to $68/head income loss*.   A VetCap costs less than $2/treatment (when purchased in 150ct pak).

                Producer Loss Case Study Example (using very conservative figures; and excluding costs of labor for alternative treatment typesˆ):

                •               Blood Loss = Lost Gains:

                •               a calf gains 2.5lb/day

                •               horn flies cause 17%-33% reduction in weight gain over an 80-day period

                •               a conservative 17% reduction in weight gain           = 0.425 lb lost per day

                •               80 days x 0.425 lb                                                   = 34 lbs lost gain

                •               34 lbs x $2 / lb*                                                        = $68 / head minimum income loss to horn flies*

  * research shows horn flies cause 17%-33% reduction in weight gain over 80days / price of calf at $2.00 – this is well below market rates (as at Jan, 2015).

                   COST vs VALUE FOR MONEY- VETGUN: At a RRP of $249, isn’t the VetGun expensive for just fly control ?

A:  The cost of a VetGun must be weighed up vs the cumulative costs of handling and treating your cattle with alternative methods. Or, versus the resultant cost/economic loss of not treating your cattle at all. VetGun allows cattle to be treated on pasture at the most opportune time for treatment vs current standard procedure of gathering, penning and processing cattle through a chute. Many times this is done for a breeding purpose and other treatments are done at that time, not always the best time i.e. insecticide ear tags, because the cattle are penned. The VetGun is a delivery platform and an investment in equipment much like feed bunks, water troughs, gates, panels. It will last a long time and more products are in the regulatory process and planned to follow AiM-L in the future. Once you own the VetGun   it will be a valuable tool to use for many years to come. It only takes saving the potential production loss on approximately 5 calves to pay for the investment in the VetGun.

                   DEALERS – FINDING ONE:  How do find my closest dealer?

A:   Use or online dealer locator by visiting  www.agrilabs.com/t-dealerlocator.aspx  or call AgriLabs at 800-542-8916.

                   DEALERS or DISTRIBUTORS – BECOMING ONE:  How do I become a distributor or dealer for the VetGun Delivery System?

A:   Call AgriLabs at 800-542-8916.

                   DISTANCE: At what distance do I need to treat cattle from?

A:  A distance of 15 to 30 ft is recommended.

                   DOSAGE:  How many AIM-L VetCaps do I need per cow?

A:   Apply one AIM-L VetCap to animals weighing over 600lbs. Before dosing, always read the label instructions for the product you are using, and work according to these.

                   DURATION / EFFICACY / FREQUENCY OF TREATMENT:  How long will AIM-L protect my cattle against Horn Flies; how often will I need to retreat?

A:  Depending on cattle size, weather conditions, parasite burden; environment and the level of acquired resistance to synthetic pyrethroids, a single dosing according to label instructions should protect your cattle for between 3 and 6 weeks. Some producers have reported up to 10 weeks protection. Treat therefore as necessary depending on your circumstances, however not more often than once every 2 weeks and not more than four times within any 6-month period. Any protection lasting less than 2 weeks, only once all other elements above have been discounted, may indicate possible chemical resistance having been developed within horn flies. Please refer ‘Resistance’ question below for further details. 

                   EARTAGS:  I already use insecticide eartags, why is AiM-L VetCaps?

ADependant on the situation, some eartags may be good to use at the start of the season, however many won’t last through the season. AiM-L VetCaps are an ideal mid season follow-up, not requiring you to bring the cattle in again. It is also worth considering rotating different chemical classes to help prevent resistance. (see separate section on resistance).

                   ECONOMICS:  (see ‘COST’ above)

                   EFFICACY:  (see ‘DURATION’ above)

                   ENVIRONMENTAL: What environmental concerns are there regarding any full VetCaps or shell fragments left in the field?

A:  The VetCaps shells are made mostly of natural organic materials and designed to dissolve quickly after rupture and exposure to the elements. Every effort should be made to recover any intact VetCaps. However, even if not recovered these will begin to breakdown soon after exposure to the environment. Under normal working conditions, the environmental exposure to lambda cyhalothrin or piperonyl butoxide from AIM-L VetCaps left in the field is highly unlikely to ever approach the permitted level for other agricultural applications such as in sprays etc. Provided you follow the label instructions, the risk of any environmental pollution from AIM-L VetCaps is very low.

                   FACE FLIES:  Is AiM-L effective against face flies?

A:  Whilst Lambda Cyhalothrin is effective against face flies,application with the VetGun to or near the facial area is not recommended. There may be some cross-protection but AiM-L is not labelled for the control of face flies.

                   FACILITIES –I ALREADY HAVE:  I already have good facilities, what’s the benefit of VetGun?

A:  There are times when the fly burden is excessive or at its peak, but you don’t need to run the animals through the facilities for anything else. VetGun then becomes a huge time and labor savings in that you can treat in the pasture without needing to pen; and handle them. Many examples exist of individual producers treating over 100 cattle in an hour. There’s less stress and less risk of injury for animals and producers to treat the animals in their own environment rather than running them through the facilities.

                   FRAGILE:  Why have my VetCaps become fragile?

A:  Prolonged exposure to very dry conditions or freezing temperatures can cause the VetCaps to lose moisture from the shell and become brittle. Try placing them in a more humid environment for 24 to 72 hours to restore original condition. VetCaps that have frozen may be permanently damaged. Damaged and unused product should be disposed of as directed on the product label.

                   FRAGMENTATION:  Why are my VetCaps not fragmenting like they do on the demonstration video?

A:   Exposure to humidity reduces the VetCap’s ability to fragment, if they do not fragment fully then they may not mark the animal as well as shown on the video. If the VetCaps are inadvertently exposed to high heat and humidity and stop fragmenting fully, their condition can normally be restored by placing them for 24 to 72 hours in cool & dry conditions where relative humidity is between 20% and 50% and temperatures do not exceed 70F. The lower the humidity environment, the quicker the fragmentation capability will be restored.

                   FREQUENCY OF AiM-L APPLICATION:  (see ‘DURATION’ above)

                   GAS OPTIONS & REFILLING:  What are the various gas options for VetGun and how many shots for each type? 

A:  VetGun is powered by compressed carbon dioxide gas (CO2) and available in following formats and shot capacities:

a. 25g Disposable Cartridges (unthreaded) -requires 25g Adaptor supplied; -provides approx 25+ shots*
b. 90g Disposable Cartridge (threaded) -requires 90g Adaptor supplied; -provides approx 80+ shots*
c. 14oz Refillable Tank (threaded) -no adaptor required: -provides approx 380+ shots*

* Shot capacities are indicative and may vary depending on temperature conditions and handling.

The 14oz Refillable tank is sold empty, and requires filling /refilling at your local sporting goods store; paintball store or welding supplier.

                   HEAT & HUMIDITY:  What effect do heat and humidity have on the VetCaps?

A:  The VetCaps are sensitive to humidity and heat, this is why they should always be kept in their specially designed packaging right up until they are used. VetCap products should be stored under conditions where relative humidity is kept between 30% and 50% and temperatures are maintained between 50F and 70F. Ensure VetCaps are never exposed to freezing temperatures during storage, transport or use, this will permanently damage them.

                   HOW FAR: What is best distance to shoot from?

A:  A distance of 15 to 30 ft is recommended.

                   HOW MANY SHOTS FROM CO2 CANISTERS?  How many shots can I expect from CO2 cartridges?

A:  See ‘Gas Options’ above; but generally an average of 1 shot / gram – so 25+ shots from a 25g cartridge; 80+ from a 90g cartridge and 380+ from a 14oz tank. Shot capacities are indicative and may vary depending on temperature conditions and handling.

                   HOW MANY VETCAPS TO USE:  See DOSAGE above

                   HURTING CATTLE:  Will VetGun hurt my cattle?

A:  When followed & used correctly, the VetGun offers producers a humane and safe way to treat cattle. The velocity of the VetGun and structure of the VetCap has been designed to ensure the VetCap ruptures on impact, yet is not strong enough to distress or injure the animal. VetGun velocity is less than half that of a standard paintball velocity. A cow's hide is much thicker and tougher than human skin. The instantaneous short-lived impact of a softgel capsule on an animal hide is far less stressful than the lengthy process of herding; confining and handling in order to administer an alternative treatment method. Having the flexibility to choose optimal treatment timing means cattle suffer less from parasite infliction.

                   LICE TREATMENT:  Is AiM-L effective on Lice and can I treat in Winter or cool conditions?

A: AiM-L is EPA labelled to treat biting and sucking lice on beef cattle. As a cool weather parasite, lice may need to be treated in coldest of winter months. However severe cold weather can impair performance of both AiM-L VetCaps and your VetGun. VetGun is a high-quality, precision-engineered delivery gun powered by compressed carbon dioxide gas (CO2). Extreme cool conditions can cause CO2 to freeze or create small shards of ice in the barrel, which in turn can rupture VetCaps when fired. The VetCap is a purpose designed gelatin capsule and is sensitive to environmental conditions. Performance of both the VetGun and VetCaps may be impaired if STORAGE and USAGE instructions are not followed correctly.

(for more details on recommended Storage; Transport and Usage conditions, refer to SmartGuide ‘VG 0005 Winter & Lice Usage’).  

                   MARKING:  How can I tell which animals have been treated?

A:  The VetCap contents will leave a wet patch and the brightly colored gelatin shell fragments on impact; temporarily clinging the the hide. As treating 100 cattle in an hour is readily achievable, the temporary markings lost sufficiently long enough to distinguish treated from untreated cattle. It is also recommended to either treat all cattle on the left side; or all cattle on the right side, making it easier to identify those that have yet to be treated.

                   OTHER ANIMALS:  Can I use AiM-L on animals other than beef cattle eg: dairy cows; horses; goats; deer; bison; swine; pigs; sheep; dogs; other?

A:  AiM-L is EPA labelled to only treat beef cattle of all ages provided they are greater than 600lbs.

                   PAINTBALLL GUNS:  Can a paintball gun be used to deliver VetCaps?

A:  Both technically and legally a standard paintball cannot be used to project a VetCap. Technically, a VetCap is almost twice the diameter of a standard recreational paintball. A standard paintball is 2.68ml ; and Aim-L VetCap is a 10ml (approximately 4x the volume) . The VetGun is specially designed and engineered to project these EPA-approved softgel encapsulated pesticide VetCaps. The design accommodates the precise diameter of a VetCap as well as the necessary velocity required to project the VetCap to a required distance of 15-30 ft and fragment upon impact, yet not rupturing in the VetGun, and without causing undue harm to the animal. So technically it is not possible to use a VetCap in a standard paintball gun. Legally, the EPA approved AiM-L VetCap product label specifically provides for application using a SmartVet approved device only - the VetGun. Due to EPA label regulations, the use of another device to project an AiM-L VetCap constitutes a federal offence as it is using a pesticide contrary to its EPA approved label. 

                   PREGNANT, LACTATING, NURSING COWS:  Can I use AiM-L on pregnant; nursing or lactating cows?

A:  AiM-L is EPA labelled to treat beef cattle of all ages provided they are greater than 600lbs. This would include pregnant; nursing; or lactating cows.

                   PRESSURE SETTINGS:  Can I adjust the pressure of my VetGun?

A:  Pressure is preset at factory to optimal operating range. No adjustments are necessary or required. If velocity starts decreasing, check your CO2 levels and replace in need.

                   RAIN / WET CATTLE:  What if it rains after cattle are treated or is raining when I want to dose them?

A:  You should always consider the weather forecast before dosing. Never dose wet cattle; within 24 hours of expected rain; or within 24 hrs after rain. Dosing wet cattle or rainfall can reduce the duration of control and the level of control.

                   REPAIRS:  How do I get my VetGun fixed or get replacement parts

A:  Call AgriLabs Technical Support at 1-888-725-8125; or Customer Service at 1-800-542-8916 or 816-233-9533

                   REFRIGERATION:  Should I refrigerate my VetCaps?

A:  No, refrigeration and freezing are not recommended and can weaken or permanently damage the integrity of the VetCaps.

                   RETREATMENTS: How often should I treat?

A:  As needed but not more than once every 2 weeks or more than 4 times in a season. See also ‘Duration’.

                   RESISTANCE:  Parasite Resistance - Why do some treatments (including AiM-L) lose efficacy quickly or not last very long?

A:  Every producer situation is unique, and a variety of reasons influence treatment efficacy. When it comes to selection and application of treatments, there are things you can do to help ensure optimal treatment efficacy; and help minimize the potential of introducing or aggravating horn fly resistance. Parasites can build up resistance to chemical treatments, especially if the chemical class or active ingredient itself is not changed from one treatment to the next. Simply changing brands or treatment methods may not help, as this doesn’t necessarily change the chemical class. In laboratory studies, use of alternating insecticides or a mixture of insecticides delayed the onset of resistance for up to 12 generations and reduced the magnitude of pyrethroid resistance. In short, a carefully managed treatment ‘rotation strategy’ between chemical classes could help minimize and combat resistance.

Refer Section 15 above on ‘Managing Resistance’ and its associated Fact sheet and/or SmartGuide for more information.

                   SHELF-LIFE: How long I can keep my VetCaps?

A: Whilst AiM-L is not EPA labelled for any specific shelf-life or expiry date, if stored under the recommended label storage conditions, there should be no reason you cannot use your AiM-L throughout the following season and possibly longer, without any adverse effect.

                   SPEED of APPLICATION: How many cattle is it possible to dose in an hour?

A: If you use our recommended Best Practice to properly habituate your cattle, dosing more than 100 cattle per hour has been regularly achieved. Naturally this will differ according to individual circumstances, terrain, handling techniques and cattle temperament.

                   STARTLING / SPOOKING CATTLE:  Will it spook my cows?

A: We’ve had thousands of people treat cows and the feedback is consistent that VetGun does not spook them.  They may flinch or jump and take a couple of steps but will go right back to eating. It is best to put some feed or hay out to keep them occupied while treating. Work around the cows as you would normally handle them to reduce stress. Blank fire the VetGun a few times around the cattle to condition them to the sound, it is not something they will have heard before. After 5 or so times they will start getting used to it and not pay any further attention. In many instances, cattle start associating the dry-firing sound to that of a treat, and actively start approaching you in anticipation of some feed or hay.

                   STORAGE: AiM-L VETCAPS:  How should I keep or store my VetCaps?

A:  The VetCap™  is a purpose designed gelatin capsule, and is sensitive to environmental conditions. Performance may be impaired if label STORAGE and USAGE instructions are not followed correctly.  Stored under conditions where temperatures are kept between 50F-80F and relative humidity kept between 30%- 50%. Never refrigerate VetCaps. Keep VetCaps in their sealed packaging right up until they’re ready to be loaded and used. VetCaps can become soft and bounce off animal if exposed to high temperatures or high humidity.

VetCaps can become brittle and break if exposed to low/freezing temperatures or low humidity. If exposed to high heat or humidity, VetCaps may be able to be restored, refer to the label instructions.

                   STORAGE: VETGUN & GAS CARTRIDGES:  How should I store my VetGun and CO2 Gas?

A:  Please refer your VetGun Operation Manual. If you’ve misplaced your Operation Manual, one can be downloaded from following webpage: http://www.smartvet.com/parasite-control/what-is-aim.html

                   TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE:  Who do I contact for any technical assistance or advice?

A: Call AgriLabs Technical Support at 1-888-725-8125; or Customer Service at 1-800-542-8916  or 816-233-9533.

                   TIMING:  When should I dose my cattle with AIM-L?

A:  Horn Fly season varies throughout the US, starting initially in the South East around 1 March (refer detailed Season Map in Section 22 ‘When to treat’ ). The consensus amongst experts is that around 200 flies per animal is the economic threshold to begin treatment. For more information about horn flies and estimating their numbers, refer Section 21 ‘Horn Flies 101’.

                   VACCINES: Are there transdermal vaccines available with the VetGun Delivery System?

A: Transdermal vaccines are currently not available. Over the next few years our goal is to release new products each year that make the VetGun a versatile platform for cattle producers to deliver a range of treatments. We are unable to release further details on these developments at this point in time.

                   VIABILITY:  I only have a few cows, is it still cost viable to buy a VetGun?

A: Many producers with few cattle don’t have the best or right handling facilities. Even with the best facilities; just treating 20 cows can take several people several hours with alternative methods. With VetGun, we’ve had reports of individual ranchers taking just 10 minutes to       treat 20 head. It furthermore only takes saving the potential production losses on approximately 5 animals to pay for their investment in the VetGun. 

                   WARRANTY:  How do I get my VetGun fixed or get replacement parts?

A:  For 1 year from date of Purchase, AgriLabs will repair or replace a VetGun free of charge if defective due to materials or workmanship. Original purchase receipt required.

 Call AgriLabs Technical Support at 1-888-725-8125; or Customer Service at 1-800-542-8916  or 816-233-9533

                   WINTER / COOL CONDITIONS USAGE:  Can cold weather impair performance of both AiM-L VetCaps and your VetGun?

A:  VetGun is a high-quality, precision-engineered delivery gun powered by compressed carbon dioxide gas (CO2). Extreme cool conditions can cause CO2 to freeze or create small shards of ice in the barrel, which in turn can rupture VetCaps when fired. The VetCap is a purpose designed gelatin capsule and is sensitive to environmental conditions. Performance of both the VetGun and VetCaps may be impaired if STORAGE and USAGE instructions are not followed correctly.

(for more details on recommended Storage; Transport and Usage conditions, refer to SmartGuide ‘VG 0005 Winter & Lice Usage’).  

                   WITHDRAWAL PERIOD:  What is the required wait period between AiM-L application and cattle slaughter?

A: There is no withdrawal period for synthetic pyrethroids related to safe meat and milk supply.  This is due to the fact that the lipophilic nature of SPs limits absorption through the skin to only trace amounts (<1%).