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A Statement to Clarify the Position On the Use of Chlortetracycline in Calf Milk Replacer

NOTICE TO VETERINARIANS, FEED MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTORS AND FARMERS.

THE PRESCRIBING AND USE OF CHLORTETRACYCLINE (CTC) OR OTHER ANTIBIOTIC VETERINARY MEDICINAL PRODUCTS IN CALF MILK REPLACER.

  1. There are no veterinary medicinal products containing CTC or any other antibiotic veterinary medicinal products, which are authorised for incorporation into dry calf milk replacer in advance of reconstitution and immediate feeding to calves. Thus it is illegal to prescribe, manufacture, supply, possess or use any calf milk replacer containing CTC or any other antibiotic prepared in advance of immediate feeding to calves.
    The prescribing cascade cannot be used to prescribe CTC or any other antibiotic in calf milk replacer manufactured in this way.
  2. A CTC oral powder product is available for feeding to calves but its authorisation means that it can only be prescribed for and added to calf milk replacer immediately prior to feeding calves.
  3. For ruminant calves, another veterinary medicinal product (a premix) containing CTC is authorised for incorporation into dry feed by a feed mill or on-farm mixer approved to incorporate premixes. However, this premix is not authorised for use in calf milk replacer.
  4. Both of the authorised oral CTC products are only available on receipt of a prescription from a veterinary surgeon.
  5. If a farmer believes his animals are ill, they must approach their veterinary surgeon in the first instance to discuss the most appropriate treatment. Farmers should not approach feed mills or feed distributors to order medicated feeds before consulting their vet.
  6. Feed mills and distributors should not approach veterinarians to request a medicated feedingstuff (MFS) prescription for a medicated feed. However, if circumstances arise where a vet is approached, the vet must only accept a request from a mill or distributor for an MFS prescription if, in the vet's professional opinion, a medicated feed is the most appropriate treatment.
  7. When considering treatment with CTC, or other oral medications, the veterinarian should also consider alternative methods of administration such as the injectable veterinary medicinal products.
  8. Other oral veterinary medicinal products are available which are also authorised for the treatment of respiratory disease in calves and contain antibiotics such as tylosin, tilmicosin and enrofloxacin. Once again their authorisations mean that they can only be prescribed for and added to calf milk replacer immediately prior to feeding calves.
  9. Veterinarians are also able to advise farmers on best farming practice principles to reduce reliance on antibiotics. Minimising the use of antibiotics will reduce the likelihood of resistance developing. In any case, the routine use of antibiotics is not in keeping with the Responsible use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance guidelines.

Where evidence is found of activity in breach of the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2011, the VMD will consider taking enforcement action.

Should you have any questions please contact Janis McDonald: Tel: 01932 338307 e-mail: j.mcdonald@vmd.defra.gsi.gov.uk.

Last Updated: 8 May 2013

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