- Prevent problems. Emphasize appropriate husbandry and hygiene, routine health examinations and vaccinations.
- Select and use antibiotics carefully. Consult with your veterinarian on the selection and use of antibiotics. Have a valid reason to use an antibiotic. Therapeutic alternatives should be considered prior to using antimicrobial therapy.
- Avoid using antibiotics important in human medicine as first-line therapy. Avoid using those medications that are important to treating strategic human or animal infections as the first antibiotic.
- Use the laboratory to help you select antibiotics. Cultures and susceptibility test results should be used to aid in the selection of antibiotics, whenever possible.
- Combination antibiotic therapy is discouraged unless there is clear evidence the specific practice is beneficial. Select and dose an antibiotic to effect a cure.
- Avoid inappropriate antibiotic use. Confine therapeutic antibiotic use to proven clinical indications, avoiding inappropriate uses such as for viral infections without bacterial complication.
- Treatment programs should reflect best-use principles. Regimens for therapeutic antimicrobial use should be optimized using current pharmacological information and principles.
- Treat the lowest number of animals possible. Limit antibiotic use to sick or at-risk animals.
- Treat for the recommended time period to minimize the potential for bacteria to become resistant to antimicrobials.
- Avoid environmental contamination with antibiotics. Steps should be taken to minimize antimicrobials reaching the environment through spillage, contaminated ground runoff or aerosolization.
- Keep records of antibiotic use. Accurate records of treatment and outcome should be used to evaluate therapeutic regimens; always follow proper withdrawal times.
- Follow label directions. Follow label instructions, and never use antibiotics other than as labeled without a valid veterinary prescription.
- Extra-label antibiotic use must follow FDA regulations. Prescriptions, including extra-label use of medications, must meet the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA) amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its regulations. This includes having a valid veterinarian-client relationship.
- Subtherapeutic antibiotic use is discouraged. Antibiotic use should be limited to prevent or control disease and should not be used if the principal intent is to improve performance.
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A beef producer’s guide for use of antibiotics
Judicious use of antibiotics is no longer just a good idea — it’s essential if we want to have antibiotics in our toolbox going forward. Here are 14 things to keep in mind when using antibiotics with your cattle.