Categories: Articles, Livestock and gamePublished On: 3rd July 2024

Beefmaster Group – Cattle herd health: What goes into a good antibiotic?

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In cattle production, the responsible use of antibiotics is crucial for safeguarding herd health. However, understanding how antibiotics contribute to animal health and welfare might not be as well-known.

According to Thapelo Kgosi “King” Ramokala, an animal health specialist at Beefmaster Group, choosing the right antibiotic for treating cattle can be tricky. He says that understanding the different classes of antibiotics and how they work is essential for ensuring the best treatment response.

“A good antibiotic approach involves a targeted strategy. When an animal falls ill, it’s recommended to administer an antibiotic specifically for the diagnosed condition. If there is no improvement, the treatment plan should be reassessed. Using broad-spectrum antibiotics without a clear diagnosis can inadvertently harm the herd and promote antibiotic resistance.”

King also points out that antibiotics should be reserved for cases involving secondary bacterial infections.

Effective management protocols and a comprehensive vaccine program can help protect the herd by reducing risk factors. However, when animals do get sick, it’s vital to promptly identify and treat them with the appropriate antibiotic. This ensures the longevity of treatment options and reduces the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.

On the other hand, a poor antibiotic approach includes using broad-spectrum antibiotics without proper diagnosis, which can harm the herd and encourage antibiotic resistance.

“Neglecting the importance of targeted treatment and failing to reassess ineffective treatments can also lead to poor outcomes in cattle health management,” he says.

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