Aug. 9 2011 09:17 AM

Responsible antibiotic use is everyone's responsibility.

The veterinarian, herd owner, and employees handling medications all need to be aware of the guidelines and rules involving antibiotic treatments for dairy cattle and have accurate records. The number one reason for drug residues – not having accurate records.

Geof Smith of the North Carolina State University presented the latest webinar, "Responsible Antibiotic Use." He stressed the importance of having a working relationship with your veterinarian and having everyone in the chain of administering medications informed about which drugs to use, dosage amounts, for what purpose, withdrawl time, and method of administration. Altering any of these will result in an extra-label use of the drug.

The webinar was recorded and is available on the Hoard's Dairyman website at There is some very valuable information Geof shared with the group that would certainly be worth an hour of your time.

He stressed the importance of recording when animals were treated, with what, where, how much (and by whom). And with that information, the withdrawl time can be established. A complete book can be downloaded that provides withdrawl times for medications and should be kept within arms reach of medications. Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual is a concise review of judicious use of antibiotics in dairy animals. It is posted on Farmers Assuring Responsible Management's (FARM) website.

A pdf is attached that can be downloaded for you to use on your dairy. (or you can create your own) Keep it handy; post it where medications are stored, in the calf barn, or in your treatment area. Farms are required to keep records of this information, not only to eliminate any withdrawl issues, but also to track drug usage and inventory levels.

Geof Smith is a practicing veterinarian, as well as an instructor and researcher at North Carolina State University. He had many real-world scenarios and discussion points that everyone involved in the dairy food chain should understand.

Merial and their program made this webinar available to viewers.