Though we've been aware of this government action for several months now, it has been in the works since 2015. You will probably start hearing more and more about Vet directives in the coming months. As of January 2017, water soluble antibiotics will no longer be available over the counter, for treating poultry, you will be required to get a prescription from your vet if you have a need to treat with antibiotics, and certain feeds that contain antibiotics will also require a vet prescription to purchase. You may want to talk to your vet ahead of this new ruling just to see what your options are and what recommendations your vet may offer. This may prompt the vet to start looking into poultry needs if they have not in the past. I noticed over a year ago that the local feed store had pulled all antibiotics from their shelves in preparation for this directive. You can find more information in the link at the bottom of this article, that will help explain what products will no longer be available. There are over 200 products that will no longer be available to the general public without a vet directive. This represents all manufactures and brand names, so it isn't that there are that many individual treatments only that many different brand names for the same basic product.
What you need to do NOW:
If you do not have a vet that treats poultry, now would be a good time to locate one. Avian vets are not the same as poultry vets, though they may be able to advise you. A livestock vet rarely treats poultry, though they may be able to advise you. A good vet regardless of their specialty will track down information if they do not know the answer. It is our hope that with this new directive, that more vets will spend some time looking into poultry needs and be more versed to assist their individual communities. Currently, you may be able to contact a local livestock vet which may be more apt to look into poultry needs. Avian vets, typically are not versed in poultry, but they too may begin to address those needs in the future. We have found that there is only one vet in the entire state of Washington that is a certified poultry vet. You may find that to be the case in your own state as well. Do an online search for Poultry Vets in your state now, so you have that information handy as needed and some will do phone consultations, so have that information available to you and to your local vet.
If there is an antibiotic that you have used effectively in the past, you may be able to just let any vet know what it is and obtain that prescription even if they do not treat poultry and even if they are not versed in poultry. Know the biological name as well as the generic name and manufacturer, so the vet is able to look it up or find information about that particular product. The more information you have the more you can assist your non-poultry vet. So gather your information now, before the products are pulled from the market. Duramycin, tetracycline and Oxy-tetracycline, and all tetracycline products will be pulled from the public market, which applies to all brands and manufacturers. This is for water soluble products only at this time, the injectables will still be available at least for awhile.
Corrid, which is commonly used for Coccidiosis (a common ailment in chicks), apparently will still be available, but check to make sure, if you use that product whether it will still be available over the counter.
It is also our understanding that any feed products that contain antibiotics, or combination of antibiotics, will be pulled from the market, and in fact some are currently being pulled and those manufacturers are discontinuing those products so they will not be available even with a vet directive. Talk with your feed store to determine if the product you use is on the list and if it is on the list find out what other options they recommend.
Prevention is the Best Treatment:
The important thing is prevention and building a strong immune system, so that you will have less need to treat with antibiotics. Pro-biotics are proven to help keep a healthy gut, which in turn also helps ward off certain pathogens that cause illness. This is one way to help keep your birds strong and healthy.
Providing draft free shelter, with good ventilation helps prevent illness and keeping your birds sheltered from winds in the colder months well help prevent the onset of illness. Keeping the run and shelter dry or providing objects within the run to keep the birds up off the wet, muddy ground will help to prevent illness and spread of pathogens. Keeping a clean environment, with regular cleaning, and treating appropriately for parasites, that spread disease and compromise immunity. Rodent control will help prevent spread of illness and disease. Follow the link for ways to protect your flocks from infectious disease and illness:
Bio Security will be a top priority to prevent spread of pathogens, and if you show birds or attend poultry swaps, you need to be very aware of the health of those birds to prevent your own birds from being infected. This will be an issue in the future. There were reports in recent months of entire show stock having to be euthanized at poultry events because one bird had contracted an illness and the risk was too high to return any from the show to their own flocks. This is heart-breaking for the kids involved. In the future you may have to have thorough vet checks and health certifications to make sure you are entering a healthy bird at these shows.
If you have not implemented a strict bio-security with your own flocks now is the time to get serious about it. These pathogens know no boundaries, and can infect your flocks, your neighbor's flocks and if you're doing shows, they can infect the entire state you are participating in. Follow the link:
Poultry First Aid:
If you have not put your Poultry first aid kit together now would be a good time to do that and to make a point of keeping it stocked. In the past we've offered alternative treatments of natural and of manufactured, giving you an option of treatment. We will no longer be listing available antibiotics, nor sources for obtaining those. We will however attempt to help you trouble-shoot the problems that may arise and offer an option for treatment, but ultimately you will need to be in touch with your vet for the best recommendations concerning your own individual birds. We will update our poultry first aid kit recommendations to include researched products that can be substituted as we have that information. Follow the link:
What are the options:
Currently we do know that Turmeric, Oregano Oil, Pro-biotics, and black pepper have shown to be affective measures toward building immunity. These are used in very low doses and often in combined formulas, and as we've warned throughout the years, herbal use or rather over-use can be detrimental to the health of your birds. We would not recommend more than a weekly treatment for most herb concoctions. Once the products do hit the market there will be recommended dosages and recommended use, until then beware that you will see a lot of non-researched information and non-tested remedies on blogs. Resist falling into the trap of over-using any and all herbal treatment. Over-use of any product, natural or manufactured is a serious problem in humans and animals alike. And though the term *natural* has been used for decades now, natural does not always mean safe. Many things are *natural*, and if we're talking herbs, of course, there are many herbs that are absolutely unsafe to use or ingest even in small quantity. Some herbs even though safe to use for most people, can put others at very high risk of allergic reaction. So once again, we caution you about over-use of even those herbs deemed safe for consumption. We also caution you not to attempt combining these products without a thorough knowledge of quantities and uses.
Studies have been conducted over the past 5 years on certain products, such as pro-biotics and herbal treatments that are designed to build immunity and used as preventatives, that have been proven effective, however no studies have been performed using these products for birds that are already ill. These products are purely designed for prevention, not *cures*.
No doubt you will be seeing many products hit the market in the ensuing months that will be substitutes for antibiotics. Know your sources, and research those products, because for every product, there will be those that are *snake oil* and simply do nothing for prevention or cure. I will remind you a fancy package and fancy advertising or marketing skills does not mean the best product, nor even an effective product, so buyer beware.
County Extension and State Universities:
We will continue to monitor this situation and continue to do our research into available treatments and update as the situation warrants. Always feel free to contact us with your questions, we will do our best to answer your questions and ease your concerns and if we do not know the answers, we will direct you to sources that can provide those answers. Become very familiar with your county extension office and your State Agriculture University, those will be your best sources of information. We have compiled a list per state of those sources. Follow the link: justfowlingaround.weebly.com/chicken-blog/category/research-sources
For further information on the Vet Directive, follow the link:
Chicken Coop Chatter© All Rights Reserved 2011-2017
Linda Mc: Thanks for that great info.