Antibiotic use 

There is a lot of discussion about antibiotics and their use in livestock. The first target of the antibiotic cops was use in feed. Therapeutic use in feed will be allowed upon a veterinarians direction. The veterinary establishment interpets this as having a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. I interpret this to in effect require that this relationship should exist if a producer wants to feed a product like AS700 to prevent abortion. 

Lack of veterinary services to sheep and goat producers is an established fact. This is primarily driven by two factors, economical needs of the small producer and remoteness of some operations. In the future, it may affect small cow calf producers as well. Further restrictions on these producers will result in forcing producers out of business and  animal welfare issues because proper treatment of sick animals is no longer available.

Just what is the issue?  Antibiotic resistance will occur. Does use in animals increase the chance of resistance in humans? I sincerely doubt it. Penicillin has been around almost as long as I have and is still effective. When a resistant problem does occur it is quite often in a human hospital setting where the same procedures have been repeated almost endlessly.

New antibiotics have been developed that have addressed the problem and continued development is often slowed by the bureaucratic process,  the same people that are attempting to curtail use of presently approved products.

Indiscriminate use of antibiotics should be avoided and the livestock industry as a whole has gotten much better. Prudent use should be advised and encouraged to protect the well being of our animals.


About Ask-a-Vet Sheep

Veterinary services, procedures, biologicals, and drugs mentioned in this publication represent the personal opinions and clinical observations of the contributing author. They are in no way intended to be interpreted as recommendations without the consent of the producer’s own practicing Veterinarian. We strongly urge that producers establish a patient-client-veterinarian relationship that allows extra-label use when there are no drugs approved for treatment or if approved drugs are not effective. This procedure allows veterinarians to go beyond label directions when “prudent use” is necessary. The limited availability of drugs and biologics in this country is a major factor in restricting the growth of the sheep industry and allowing producers to compete in the world market place.
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