News & Advice

Critical antibiotic use

Oct 11, 2020 | Compliance, Dairy

By Andy Collier, Herd Health Consultant, Anexa Vets

We live in a changing world and one major change in the world of Veterinary Medicine is the confirmation of certain drugs as Critically Important Antibiotics (CIA’s). These are drugs deemed to be critical to human health worldwide and now have significant restrictions on their use, for example:

  • they can only be used when other drugs have been shown/proven (lab tests) not to work
  • they can only be scripted for 4 months at a time (i.e. vet can’t write a script for the season)
  • they can’t be used based on economics or convenience.

Some examples of antibiotics that have been commonly used on-farm and are now classified as CIA:

Diseases such as footrot have sometimes been treated with a long-acting Cepahalonium such as Excede due to the convenience of the nil milk withholding and one-shot treatment regime. The research shows us the bugs that cause footrot respond well to penicillin and so this should be the first treatment of choice unless there is clear evidence to suggest penicillin-resistance in the bugs.

Mastitis that occurs in multiple quarters or in freshly calved heifers has often been treated with an injectable treatment such as Tylosin. There are other injectable products that can successfully be used to treat mastitis that are not CIA and so must be used whenever possible.

Mastalone is a combined intramammary product containing Critically Important Antibiotics. This means that we need to use other antibiotics as our first and second choice and only use Mastalone™ where it is deemed to be the only choice suitable.

Luckily, we still have good antibiotic options available to us in New Zealand that are just as effective as the Critically Important Antibiotics; by working together as an industry to reduce our use of Critically Important Antibiotics, we will keep it that way. Keep talking to your vet about the best antibiotic options for your farm.

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