Don’t rely on Blanket Protection
Often treating animals to prevent infection (such as day old lambs) can be easily avoided with good husbandry. Antibiotics are no substitute to high hygiene, low stress levels and stocking densities and good colostrum management.
Bacteria are much more likely to develop resistance from treatment with an antibiotic at a lower than effective dose. Overdosing can also select for resistance and lead to meat residues. Most antibiotics need at least 5 days of consecutive treatment. Cutting this short leads to some bacteria surviving the treatment and mutating.
Use a Suitable Antibiotic
Do you know what is the most effective antibiotic for common conditions? For example, there are high levels of resistance to tetracyclines (alamycin/engemycin) in infections involving pus. This not only leads to non-resolution of the disease, but also promotes resistance developing.
Reserve Critically Important Antibiotics
Use of these classes of drugs in livestock is well known to have contributed to the rise of so called ‘superbugs’ such as MRSA. Drugs such as ‘zactran’ should be limited to cases not resolving with use of another antibiotic or following the advice of your vet after sensitivity testing.
Work with Your Vet
It is a good idea to discuss your use of antibiotics with your vet. Drawing up a flock health plan, based on known risks on the farm, can lead to improving husbandry techniques and reducing reliability on antibiotics.
If you would like to discuss your antibiotic use, please call the practice - 01363 772860