News & Advice

Important changes to how vets can prescribe antibiotics

Jun 2, 2020 | Compliance, Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare

Julia Baynes, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Morrinsville

This year, some important changes to the Veterinary Medicines code have come into effect, relating to how vets can prescribe for farmers, those antibiotics deemed to be critically important in New Zealand. These antibiotics include: Mastalone, Tylan, Tylofen, Tyloguard, Excede LA, and Excenel. 
These critically important antibiotics are used in human medicine, often as the last line of defence against hard-to-treat bacterial infections such as MRSA and tuberculosis. Therefore, it is important that we preserve and prolong the effectiveness of these antibiotics by restricting their use in production animals to situations where first-line antibiotics, such as penicillin, are not effective. 
When your new RVM scripts become active in June or July, critically important antibiotics can only be scripted for a maximum of 4 months at a time. This means that at the end of each 4-month period, you will need to have a discussion with your vet around if these antibiotics are required for the next period. 
It’s important that you only have enough product on farm to appropriately use within the scripting period. If the 4-month scripting window expires and the script is not renewed, any excess product will need to be disposed of to ensure compliance and avoid issues at shed inspections. To assist with this, the minimum of product should be on farm at any one time. 
Therefore, you can expect your vet to adjust your script volumes to reflect the shorter scripting period, and to account for the fact that these critically important antibiotics should only be used in exceptional cases. 
It’s important that you keep all paperwork, especially RVM charts and vet dockets, to account for antibiotic usage on farm. These are documents that will be required at shed inspections and should be kept somewhere safe. 
We understand that this scripting change may feel like more effort and more paperwork; however, this is an important step to protect antibiotics in a world where bacterial resistance is building, and is now a legal requirement, not just a recommendation. 

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