When Treating Cattle, Correct Dose Is Essential

Cattle producers make mistake of dosing by average group weight.

When it comes to treating cattle with anti-infectives, producers often make the mistake of giving a standard does for a wide weight range, which can result in either overdosing or underdosing as many as half of the animals, Pfizer Animal Health says.

A Kansas State University analysis was conducted to evaluate the extent and degree of improper dosing that would occur if all animals in a study group were treated with one standard dose based on the average weight of the group. The researchers found that 946 out of 6,231 head would be overdosed by 10 percent or more, while 831 head would be underdosed by 10 percent or more. The analysis also showed that nearly 2 percent of the animals would be overdosed by 25 percent or more.1

"Unlike vaccines, which are dosed at one standard rate to stimulate the immune system, anti-infectives must be dosed on weight to ensure the proper level of drug reaches the infected tissues in an animal's body for effective treatment," said Pfizer veterinarian Mike Nichols.

Nichols recommends installing a weight scale under the processing chute as a fool-proof way to ensure proper dosing. "It is an investment, but one that can help yield improved treatment response and lower total medicine costs, as well as being a valuable tool to assess treatment response," Nichols explained. "Weighing and dosing animals individually also results in correct withdrawal times, which supports Beef Quality Assurance guidelines."

Educating the people who are administering the products is critical. Crews should be trained in using the proper size syringe to accurately measure the dose, following the proper care of administration equipment and handling of the chute scale if you have one.

"The newer, low-volume dose anti-infectives on the market offer many benefits including supporting BQA, but they still require attention to detail for administering the correct dose," Nichols added. "Crew training is even more important with these products. Producers should also consider that several manufacturers have produced syringes specifically to handle these lower doses."

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