Antibiotic availability worries producers

STRASBOURG, Sask. — Some cattle producers are worried about changes that might affect how they access veterinary antibiotics.

Federal regulations now being phased in mean some drugs that producers currently access at local retail stores will be available only through veterinarians.

Concern about antimicrobial resistance led to the new regulations for medically important antibiotics. The first change was designed to eliminate growth-promotant claims on labels.

Another change will require a veterinarian-client-patient relationship before a veterinarian will be able to issue a prescription.

Brent Johnson told the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association District 6 meeting that he is concerned about humane treatment of animals if producers don’t have easy access to what they need.

“If you’re out on a weekend and you’ve got a cow with pinkeye or a cow with foot rot and you’re out of Noromycin, are you going to pay an after-hours charge for a bottle that you used to just be able to run to the co-op and get?” he said.

Johnson said producers are following the beef code of practice, participate in Verified Beef programs and follow best management practices to show how they humanely care for their animals. Quick access to antibiotics should be part of those practices, he said.

Johnson is also worried about the cost.

His motion, which will be carried forward to the SCA annual general meeting in January, called on the organization to lobby the province and the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association to ensure that antimicrobial drugs are not added to a minimum price schedule.

The motion also asks governments to investigate how a pharmacy-style retail system for livestock drugs could be set up to foster competition.

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