Reading and understanding product labeling is vital for taking care of your cattle and protecting dairy wellness. Labels explain what the products are supposed to do, how to use them and which animals are approved for their use. Extra-label drug use, except under the direction of a veterinarian, is not only prohibited but also a major contributor to drug residue violations.
Product labels contain usage and safety information, and it’s important producers strictly adhere to the labeled instructions when they are treating cattle. Some products are only approved for use in nonlactating dairy cattle, which means they cannot be used in females over 20 months of age, including dry cows. Understanding these label classifications is part of avoiding residue violations.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) offers these definitions:
Following label instructions is a human food safety issue. There is the potential for residues of drugs labeled for use in nonlactating dairy cattle to be present in milk of the treated cows, as well as in the tissue of the calves born to the treated cows. These products should be stored separately to reduce as much potential for confusion as possible.
In addition to making sure these products are used only in the appropriate class of animals, I recommend following these important aspects of on-label use:
As you work with your veterinarian to review management practices for avoiding milk and meat residues, the Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention manual from the National Milk Producers Federation also serves as a valuable educational tool and resource for drugs approved for use in nonlactating and lactating dairy cattle.
For more information about working with your veterinarian to reduce violative drug residues on your dairy, visit AvoidResidues.com. There, you’ll also find information about Zoeits products that carry the Residue Free Guarantee™. For more, visit with your veterinarian or local Zoetis representative.