Improving Antibiotic Residues in Dairy Cull Cows and Bob Veal
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Suggested Lead: The beef checkoff recently hosted Michael Apley, DVM, clinical pharmacologist and food animal production medicine specialist at Kansas State University, to address a group of dairy and veal producers about antibiotic resistance, residues and what role a veterinarian plays on today’s farm.
Apley 1: “Well there’s two big real topics: one of them is going to be antibiotic resistance and what’s being expressed as concerns especially in the most recent cephalosporin extra label drug use prohibition order from the FDA/CVM and then a second is the residue issues in cull dairy cows and veal calves and what we need to do as an industry to make those go away.” (:19 seconds)
Apley says the dairy industry is unique, but that all producers – dairy, veal and beef – need to adhere to two simple rules.
Apley 2: “Well one of the unique things about dairy cattle is a lot of the treatment that occurs in a sick dairy cow occurs immediately prior to her being culled from the herd as opposed to beef and then also the immediacy of collecting milk. So there’s some immediacy issues that really affect dairy that don’t the others. And the residue issue is one in my opinion of making sure veterinarians are involved in the treatment decisions and the actual treatments and that they are overseeing the adherence to the regulations because avoiding residues is as simple as adhering to the withdraw time and having your records.” (:37 seconds)
Apley says in today’s environment producers need a healthy partnership with their veterinarian. This can only lead to reduced antibiotic residues which equates to a better beef product for consumers.
Apley 3: “The first stop is your veterinarian and challenge your veterinarian and what they can do for you and what they know and if you’re not satisfied with the depth of knowledge they’re displaying on it, sometimes you need to look for one that’s really dedicated to the production systems you’re working in. But the number one step if they do anything after hearing this is to talk to your veterinarian and ask him what’s going on with cephalosporins, what’s going on with the residues, are we doing everything we can. And the first question on that is do we have written protocols for how we’re going to use drugs in this herd? And have we agreed on them and have we trained everyone – do we routinely train on it? if the answer to that’s no, the big first step is right there because 70 percent of the residues in cull dairy cows that happened between 2005 and 2008 had no veterinarian involvement. That’s the big first step.” (:50 seconds)
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The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.