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Livestock producers facing changes in access to antibiotics

Livestock producers facing changes in access to antibiotics

All antimicrobials require a prescription as of Dec. 1

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

Livestock farmers will have to change the way they access certain livestock medications by the end of 2018.

As of Dec. 1, producers will require a veterinarian’s prescription for all antibiotics because of a national initiative spearheaded by Lawrence MacAulay, minister of agriculture and agri-Food.

The goal of Minister MacAulay’s plan is to “combat the risks of antimicrobial resistance in a coordinated, multisectoral and effective manner,” according to document overview.

These new regulations will impact where and how producers can purchase these drugs, said Dr. Wendy Wilkins, a disease surveillance veterinarian with Saskatchewan Agriculture.

“Farmers won’t be able to go down to their local farm or feed supply store and buy their penicillin anymore,” she told today. “They’ll need to have a prescription in hand and have to take it to a veterinary clinic or to a pharmacy to be filled.”

If a farmer doesn’t have a veterinarian, now might be the time to begin researching possible connections.

A valid relationship with a vet is required before he or she can write a prescription, Wilkins said. Just because a veterinarian assesses one cow with lameness, for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean the vet has established a relationship with the rest of the herd, she added.

And some regulatory changes to livestock medications occurred late last year.

As of November, the number of drugs producers could import for use on their farms decreased.

“If a farmer was using the drug on their own farm and on their own animals, they could import the veterinary drugs from other countries,” Wilkins said. “That’s no longer an option and farmers must consult their veterinarians first.”

Farmers are not prohibited from importing all medications, however.

Over 20 veterinary medications remain on List B, Health Canada’s list of drugs that can still be imported but not sold.

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