Over-the-counter livestock antibiotics to require vet prescription by 2023

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:25 PM CDT
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CHATTANOOGA, Okla. (KSWO) - Changes are coming for ranchers and farmers who run smaller operations.

Over-the-counter livestock medications will require written prescriptions from veterinarians by 2023.

Right now, ranchers can simply walk into a farm supply store and pick up antibiotics they need to treat livestock and poultry, but by 2023, the Food and Drug Administration’s new guidelines will require them to take an extra step.

According to Chattanooga rancher Isaac Fisher, the change is likely to drive up cost for those in the ranching industry.

“Any time you’re dealing with the health of a living organism, you don’t have extra time to waste, so if you don’t have access to that, you have to go get a script and it’s on the weekend, well then it’s a possibility we could lose cattle over it,” Fisher said.

The FDA’s concern is that antibiotic-resistant bacteria could develop more quickly from the widespread use of certain antibiotics that are medically important to humans.

Fisher said it’s just one more inconvenience for ranchers.

“At a time where there’s so much worry about food insecurity around the world, and we’re making it tougher for our farmers and ranchers to produce or do what we do, and I don’t know what their thought process is and I don’t understand it, but it’s certainly making it tougher for us,” Fisher said.

President of the Tri-County Cattlemen’s Association Jeremy Kinder said it will include the more common antibiotics, like penicillin and tetracyclines.

“Part of that is using certain products in those animals to make sure they’re healthy and thrive and meet their full genetic potential,” Kinder said. “The use of the antibiotic is really not going to change on our side of the scope. Yes, it is one more hurdle to go through, but we saw that with the VFDs and now we’re going to see the same thing with this essentially.”

Kinder said ranchers will need to make sure they have established a good relationship with a vet in the area.

“We battle a lot of things as producers here, especially in this part of the state with drought or water or electricity, just whatever,” Kinder said. “The parasites and things like that, so we’re used to kind of digging our heels in and getting things done and we’ll do that with this as well.”

Dr. Rector at Woodland Animal Hospital in Comanche said the change will be as easy as calling his office and scheduling an appointment.

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