The Benefits of Feed-Grade Antimicrobials

Lizzy SchultzAg Group, Animal Health, Antibiotics, Cattle, FDA, Veterinary, Zoetis

zoetis-quicktips Feed-grade antimicrobials have been a valuable asset to management programs for decades, but it’s easy to forget why it became an important part of the management program in the first place. The nutrition team at Zoetis offers a few reminders of why they work so well for producers across the country.

“Feed-grade antimicrobials have been an important component of producers’ management programs for more than 70 years,” Dr. Corners said. “All of us play a role in continuing to preserve their value. They are user-friendly and effective. And in the end, cattle are healthier and more productive.”

Using feed-grade antimicrobials offers a less stressful, more efficient way to help prevent and control disease. Since stress makes it easier for cattle to get sick again, feed-grade antimicrobials give producers the ability to provide the best care without another trip through the chute.

For some antimicrobials, feed might be the only route of administration available to achieve healthy animals. Individual treatment is often impractical because a producer doesn’t have the facilities, or cattle might be miles from the operation, so treating through feed is an effective way to deliver medicines that help improve health.
Feed-grade antimicrobials also provide value in controlling and treating various diseases that take a toll on animal health and well-being. One of the most commonly used methods of controlling anaplasmosis includes incorporating a feed-grade chlortetracycline like Aureomycin into the animal’s feed or mineral supplements, and stocker and feedlot producers also use Aureomycin to help start high-risk calves before they go on pasture or enter the feedlot by incorporating it into the ration or including it as a top dress to treat respiratory disease.

A close veterinary relationship is, and has always been, an important aspect to realize the full value of feed-grade antimicrobials. Veterinarians know that working closely with producers nutritionists in an animal health program is necessary to maximize animal health and performance. When the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) regulation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017, veterinarians need to be involved in decisions about feed-grade antimicrobial use. More involvement and transparency means better records, fewer chances for ineffective use of these products, and more opportunities to offer advice on how to best prevent diseases that require treatment.

For more information on feed-grade antimicrobials and the FDA VFD regulation, contact your veterinarian, feed company nutritionist or Zoetis representative, or visit here.