Over-the-counter antibiotics for livestock are disappearing

Over-the-counter antibiotics for livestock are disappearing

On June 11, 2023, the new FDA guidance, “Guidance for the Industry #263”, is due to be implemented, which means over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotics will no longer be available through retail channels traditional. Instead, these antibiotics will now require a prescription from a licensed veterinarian.

As livestock producers continually strive to practice judicious use of antibiotics, losing the ability to purchase commonly used antibiotics, such as penicillin, can put livestock producers in a difficult situation.

Linda Tikofsky, DMV and Senior Associate Director of Dairy Professional Services at Boehringer Ingelheim, says producers need to take several steps now to prepare for change.

Take inventory

“I think the first thing to do is just take inventory of what you use and what you can’t buy after June 2023,” Tikofsky says. “Go through your medicine cabinet, write down what you use and how often you use it.”

Know what you are dealing with

It’s hard to know what you need if you don’t know what you’re dealing with. According to Tikofsky, part of using antibiotics wisely is understanding the illnesses in your operation and knowing how to treat them.

“Understanding what you’re up against and how to treat an illness is an important part of breeding,” says Tikofsky. “Very often, antibiotics are not the only way to treat a disease or condition. Talk with your veterinarian to better understand when and how to treat when using an antibiotic, and work with them to see if there are other treatment options available.

Prioritize preventive management

The best way to avoid antibiotic use is to prioritize preventative management. Take the time to review herd health protocols and work proactively with your veterinarian and other consultants to address herd health issues.

Talk to your veterinarian

Now is the time to work with your veterinarian to develop a plan to adjust how your farm will access animal health products.

“Going forward, all prescriptions will need to be provided by a licensed veterinarian with whom the producer has a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship,” Tikofsky says. “It really shouldn’t affect producers too much, it will just require them to have a good working relationship with their vet, which is always the goal. When it comes to obtaining antibiotics, producers will either have to purchase antibiotics themselves from veterinarians or use a licensed pharmacy distributor. Your veterinarian should be able to help you find one of these distributors.

Assemble your team

Surrounding your operation with the best team members should always be a priority. According to Tifkofsky, now is the time to make sure your entire team is on board with your ranch’s animal health goals.

“It’s important to talk about this not only with your veterinarian, but also with your nutritionist, herd managers and employees,” she says. “Make sure you build the right team to set up your operation for success.”

Source: the herdsmen