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Vets Caught Routinely Prescribing Antibiotic in Calf Milk

17 September 2013

UK – Veterinary surgeons have been reported as routinely prescribing the heavily regulated antibiotic Chlortetracycline (CTC) in calf milk replacer.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has been notified that farmers have been requesting CTC powder for prevention of disease.

What’s more, some prescriptions have been reported as being longer than the seven day recommendation.

The VMD has stated that the CTC is only authorised for use in the treatment of individual animals following a clinical assessment.

Furthermore, the industry has been told that the product can only be prescribed and used for the recommended seven days, as laid out in the marketing authorisation.

In a notice released earlier this week, the VMD prescribed that farmers should ‘seek advice’ from their veterinarian and not ‘request prescriptions’.

It is also required that veterinarians are able to ‘justify’ their prescriptions for CTC oral powder and keep ‘appropriate records’.

In December last year and June 2013, the VMD advised that there are no veterinary products containing CTC or other antibiotics for mixing with calf milk replacer due to the threat of routine use of antibiotics and the growing threat of resistant bacteria.

The VMD said: “The routine administration of antibiotics to prevent disease, particularly when administered for long periods beyond the duration of treatment is not in accordance with responsible use of medicines.

“These practises promote the development of resistance which could lead to treatment failures in the future. The RCVS Code of Professional Conduct requires veterinarians to prescribe in a manner that minimises the development of resistance.

“Veterinarians should advise farmers on best farming practice principles in order to minimise the occurrence of disease and therefore the need for antibiotics. Further guidance on the responsible use of antibiotics is available from the BVA and the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance.”


Michael Priestley

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