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A Producers Guide for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials in Cattle


  • 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 as the first antibiotic those medications that are important to treating strategic human or animal infections.

  • Use the Laboratory to Help You Select Antibiotics: Cultures and susceptibility test results should be used to aid in the selection of antimicrobials, whenever possible.

  • Avoid Using Broad Spectrum: Use narrow spectrum antimicrobials, whenever possible. Combination antibiotic therapy is discouraged.

  • Avoid Inappropriate Antibiotic Use: Confine therapeutic antimicrobial use to proven clinical indications, avoiding inappropriate uses such as for viral infections without bacterial complications.

  • Treatment Program Should Reflect Best Use Principles: Regimens for therapeutic antimicrobial use should be optimized using current pharmacological information and principles.

  • Treat the Fewest Number of Animas Possible: Limit antibiotic use to sick or 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 run off or aerosolization.

  • Keep Records of Antibiotic Use: Accurate records of treatment and outcome should be used to evaluate therapeutic regimens and always follow proper withdrawal times.

  • Follow Label Directions: Follow label instructions and never use antibiotics other than as labeled without a valid veterinary prescription.

  • Extralabel Antibiotics 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 Veterinary-Client-Relationship.

  • Subtherapeutic Antibiotic Use Is Discouraged: Antibiotic use should be limited to prevent or control disease and should not be used if the principle intent is to improve performance.