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  • Last modified 69 days ago (March 14, 2019)

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Cattlemen reduce use of antibiotics

Staff writer

Some cattlemen were reluctant to accepta Veterinary Feed Directive that limits use of drugs in animal feed. However, according to a report by the Federal Department of Agriculture, the use of “medically-important” antibiotics decreased by 33 percent in 2017, the first full year it was in effect.

The directive required veterinarians to supervise use of medications in animal feed. Veterinarian oversight seems to have played a role in reducing sales of antibiotics.

Aureomycin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, had previously been labeled to mix in low doses into feedlot rations to control any underlying, unidentified health issues animals might have. Its use helped animals grow faster, said veterinarian Jessica Laurin of Animal Health Center of Marion County said. She contributed to an analysis of the report in the Feb. 2019 issue of Drovers Magazine.

Now, cattle-feeders have to limit its use to treat a specific sickness.

Laurin, a member of Academy of Veterinary Consultants for 20 years and past president, said sometimes, when the environment is conducive to disease outbreaks — like cold, wet conditions — feeders are allowed to use aureomycin in the feed for a limited time.

Laurin helped prepare specifics for the introduction of the VFD program.

“The VFD rules have encouraged veterinarians, nutritionists, and producers to focus more on nutrition, including minerals and vitamins, for preventing diseases such as foot rot,” Laurin said. “Feedstuffs used in rations often fall short in terms of vitamin quality and quantity, making supplementation critical for preventive management.”

Last modified March 14, 2019

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