With the increase in popularity of the backyard farm animals in the 21st century, Landrum Veterinary Hospital would like to address treatment concerns and limitations that we, as your veterinarian face on a daily basis.
These are not your grandparent’s farm animals. While the animals themselves may be of the same breed, stock, and purpose, many more federal and state regulations govern these animals than 100, 50, or even 20 years ago.
We are in a scientific period where antibiotic use and successful elimination of disease can no longer be taken for granted. Many antibiotics we use in animal medicine are also crucial to human medicine. As such, antibiotic resistance is on the rise and has led to such resistant strains of some diseases that, if a person is affected by these bacteria, death is a possible or likely outcome.
In an approach meant to protect human health, there are several agencies and laws that now guide veterinarians on the medications that can be used in farm animals. The first legal guidance comes from the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD). Food animals are listed as “Animal species or classes that are used to create a food or food by-product that does not require slaughter, such as milk (also used to make cheese and butter), eggs and honey.” Farad describes two classes of animals:
Major species include horses, cattle, dogs, cats, swine, turkeys and chickens.
Minor species include all animals not in the major species category—sheep, goats, catfish, game birds, honeybees, shellfish, etc.
There are limited medications that are allowed for food animal use. As time goes on, FARAD has become more stringent about oversight of medications. For example, none of the pain medications commonly used in veterinary medicine and only a handful of antibiotics are available for use. FARAD also makes no distinction in your pet chicken and one mass produced for the commercial market. If the medication is not allowed for use be FARAD, we could face repercussions for using it even in a pet chicken.
Please know that, while we would much prefer to be able to treat your pet chicken or goat as a pet, we are bound by law to not treat these animals as pets that would never enter the food market. With the medications that we can use, a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) may need to be written and filled at a local supplier much like a prescription that is filled at an outside pharmacy. Again, for our many clients used to obtaining medications from us, we are bound by legal guidelines.
Where we can offer assistance is in biosecurity recommendations and proper care to decrease the incidence of disease likelihood. We also will be glad to continue to offer fecals, vaccines, and other preventative services.
Please see the following websites for more information on biosecurity measures you can take to keep your flocks and herds safe.