Ranchers should prepare now for 2023 animal antibiotic guidelines


By Jennifer Whitlock, Texas Agriculture Daily

Texas Farm Bureau - January 11th, 2022


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new antibiotic guidance pertaining to animal drugs containing medically-important antimicrobials for use in companion and food production animals that are currently approved for over-the-counter (OTC) marketing.


Under the guidance, FDA stated several antibiotics familiar to ranchers and other livestock owners will no longer be available OTC.


The intent of the new antibiotic guidance is to ensure animal drugs that contain antimicrobials important for humans are not being overused or used incorrectly, said Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Associate Director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities Tracy Tomascik.


“There are many antibiotics used in both human and animal medicine, and there’s concern that overuse or misuse of those medicines can contribute to antimicrobial resistance,” he said. “FDA has been updating its antimicrobial medication guidelines for several years now. This is the latest update in a string of changes to the way ranchers can access medication for livestock use.”


OTC antibiotics used in animal feed and drinking water moved to Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) or prescription status in 2017, when the FDA first enacted VFDs for closer veterinarian oversight of antimicrobial use in food animals.


But a few antibiotics remained available OTC in the form of injectables, intramammary tubes and boluses, according to Tomascik.


Cephapirin and cephapirin benzathine, gentamicin, lincomycin, oxytetracycline, penicillin G procaine and benzathine, sulfadimethoxine, sulfamethazine and tylosin are currently available mainly as injectables but with a few intramammary tubes and boluses, he said.


By June 11, 2023, labels of those remaining OTC antibiotics will be required to read: “Caution:


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