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Judicious drug use: The good, the bad and the ugly

According to FDA, judicious use means administering an antimicrobial drug appropriately — and only when necessary.

After comparing notes on the new FDA antimicrobial guidelines with a few poultry veterinarians, Poultry Health Today editors borrowed the title from an early Clint Eastwood film to rate a few possible real-world scenarios:

The good

  • Using approved antibiotics in the feed or water to treat clinically sick birds, control the spread of a diagnosed disease or prevent commonly occurring, highly prevalent diseases like coccidiosis or necrotic enteritis.
  • Administering a non-medically important antibiotic with documented performance benefits to preserve the gut wall of broiler chickens and optimize nutrient absorption, growth potential and feed utilization.

The bad

  • Using a medically important antimicrobial without veterinary consultation or a VFD order.
  • Using any antimicrobial — medically important or otherwise — for a purpose or duration not indicated on the product’s label.

The ugly

  • Using valuable medically important drugs solely for the purpose of promoting growth or improving feed efficiency.
  • Giving medically important drugs to apparently healthy animals in the absence of any information that such animals were at risk of a specific disease.

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