Tips to avoid drug residues
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Tips to avoid drug residues

November 11, 2016
POSTED BY: Gary Neubauer | DVM | Senior Manager | Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

We all have a responsibility to eliminate drug residues in milk and meat to ensure a safe, wholesome and healthy food supply. Having a drug residue prevention plan can help your dairy reduce the risk of having a violative drug residue. Consider these six tips for making drug residue avoidance a top priority on your dairy:

  1. Regularly consult with your veterinarian.
    Including your veterinarian in regular management team conversations and establishing a strong veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) can help improve not only cow health but also the overall performance of your herd.
  1. Write and review treatment protocols.
    Clear treatment protocols should include: how to diagnose the disease, which medications and doses are approved for treatment, instructions for administration, milk and meat withholding times, and steps to ensure that cows are withheld the appropriate amount of time.
  1. Maintain accurate treatment records.
    Accurate records are critically important to avoiding violative drug residues in meat and milk. Your records should note the animal treated, date and time of treatment, drug and dosage administered, route of administration, and length of any milk or meat withdrawal.
  1. Never deviate from labeled instructions.
    Whether using a drug prescribed by a veterinarian, such as penicillin, or one purchased over the counter, it is imperative you follow the labeled dosage. A veterinarian is the only person who can prescribe extra-label uses and determine the appropriate withholding time based on the dosage and route of administration.
  1. Regularly retrain employees on treatment protocol.
    Thorough training sessions for new employees and frequent reviews with those who administer medications are the best ways to keep everyone on the same page when it comes to disease diagnosis and treatment.
  1. Store drugs for lactating and nonlactating cows separately.
    Clearly labeling and storing medicines is a critical control point that helps avoid human error in using the wrong medications.

Visit for additional resources and information about avoiding violative drug residues.



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