An­timi­cro­bial us­age soon un­der health reg­u­la­tions

The Drumheller Mail - - AROUND TOWN - Mailphoto by Terri Hux­ley

A calf eats its morn­ing oats out of a trough. Be­gin­ning De­cem­ber 1 of this year, live­stock pro­duc­ers will be re­quired to ob­tain a pre­scrip­tion for any form of an­tibi­otics from a cer­ti­fied vet­eri­nar­ian as part of Health Canada’s new reg­u­la­tions. have it or not… We’re go­ing to have to say ‘ What are you us­ing it for?’ and then we’re go­ing to have to make a de­ci­sion whether that is a rea­son­able choice of drug or if we’ve got a bet­ter one to use,” said Dr. Mor­rey Lehmann, vet­eri­nar­ian and owner of the Drumheller, Three Hills, Hanna, and Trochu ve­teri­nary clin­ics.

An­timi­cro­bial drugs like an­tibi­otics are im­por­tant to fight bac­te­rial in­fec­tions in hu­mans and an­i­mals. Pre­scrip­tions will be re­quired for any drug that has a ‘Pr’ sym­bol on its la­bel. This can be in the form of feed, in wa­ter, otic, oral, top­i­cal, im­plant, in­jectable, in­trauter­ine, in­tra­mam­mary, dust­ing pow­der treat­ments, etc.

Pro­duc­ers are ex­pected to ad­just to this steep learn­ing curve as an­i­mals de­velop an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance to the prod­ucts used to ini­tially treat the sick or un­healthy an­i­mal. “There’s a lot more re­sis­tance than we did in the past, there is no doubt in my mind about that,” said Lehmann. “I’ve had lots of peo­ple come in and ask me about it, they have lots of ques­tions about the new reg­u­la­tions and how it’s go­ing to af­fect them.”

A large group of cat­tle will be mon­i­tored un­der a Herd Health Pro­gram but for a smaller fam­ily farm, this may be­come a big­ger is­sue.

“The guy that’s got 20 head of cows; I mean if we don’t see them on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, we don’t feel very com­fort­able so he will have to start bring­ing his calves in and we’re go­ing to have to look at them,” said Lehmann. “If you’ve got a small herd, it’s go­ing to be more of an is­sue than if you have a big­ger herd.”

This year will act as a grace pe­riod for pro­duc­ers, sup­pli­ers, and vet­eri­nar­i­ans alike to build a sys­tem be­fore the reg­u­la­tions be­come manda­tory.

“It’s go­ing to take it out of the farm­ers hands to some de­gree, we are go­ing more like Europe and less like the United States,” said Lehmann. “The prob­lem is that they’ve been us­ing the an­tibi­otics wrong to some de­gree. I re­mem­ber one of the vets I used to work for that used to ar­gue with his boss [as to whether] they would use one or two cc’s of peni­cillin and now I use 50 so I mean it is chang­ing there’s no doubt about it but I mean I think a lot of the an­tibi­otics have been mis­used.”

A Vet­eri­nar­ian Client Pa­tient Re­la­tion­ship ( VCPR) plays an in­te­gral part if not the heart of the new sys­tem as it is not a signed con­trac­tual agree­ment but rather a work­ing con­nec­tion and in­ter­ac­tion be­tween vet­eri­nar­ian, client and spe­cific an­i­mal pa­tient or group of an­i­mals.

A le­git­i­mate VCPR is only con­sid­ered to ex­ist if med­i­cal records of the practice con­tain suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence of rel­e­vant and timely in­ter­ac­tion be­tween all three par­ties. These in­ter­ac­tions can in­clude farm or home vis­its, clinic ap­point­ments, di­rect an­i­mal ex­am­i­na­tions, lab re­ports or pro­duc­tion record re­views, etc.

Vet­eri­nar­i­ans are re­spon­si­ble to keep records of this in­for­ma­tion in the same way a phar­macy would.

Although this sys­tem can be seen as a way to re­duce the use of an­timi­cro­bials and build re­sis­tance, pro­duc­ers are warned that the cost of pro­duc­tion and ser­vice op­tions be­come lim­ited.

“I think the prob­lem is that peo­ple will go from one vet­eri­nar­ian to an­other and then they could have some prob­lems but I mean if you are with one vet clinic then I don’t see that it’s a ma­jor is­sue,” said Lehmann.

Sup­pli­ers may see a shift in busi­ness as well. spoke with Co-op Gen­eral Man­ager Brent Walker on the mat­ter.

“It’s a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the an­i­mal health cat­e­gory [rev­enue] how­ever in the lime­light these days, there does need to be some trace­abil­ity for that so it’s un­der­stand­able too,” said Walker.

Walker was glad to still have the money cir­cu­lat­ing in the area and will pre­pare as nec­es­sary.

“Still it’s not money leav­ing Drumheller and to me that is the main thing,” said Walker. “Com­ing this De­cem­ber 1, there will be change for us and we will bud­get ac­cord­ingly.”

The web­site on Ve­teri­nary Over­sight of An­timi­cro­bial Use pro­duced by the CVMA and pro­vin­cial as­so­ci­a­tions is manda­tory for vet­eri­nar­i­ans and their clients. It can be found here: https://www.cana­di­an­vet­eri­nar­i­ans.net/doc­u­ments/ pan-cana­dian-frame­work

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