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Three steps to avoid antibiotic residue violations

Dairy Calf & Heifer Association Published on 05 April 2011


Even though the number of antibiotic residue violations in meat is very small, market dairy animals represent the bulk of violations among all classes of cattle.



Responsible therapeutic use of antibiotics in dairy replacement heifers is a top priority for avoiding drug residues in market cattle and ensuring consumer confidence in food safety.

Follow these tips from the Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance program to avoid improper injection of antibiotics and subsequent residue violations:

1. Use animal health products exactly as they are labeled or prescribed by a veterinarian, with whom you have a valid Veterinary Client/Patient Relationship.

2. Do not change the route of administration. For example, if the label says to give a subcutaneous injection, only administer it in this way.

3. Maintain complete, accurate treatment records. Be sure to record the following information:


• Animal identification

• Drug name

• Date of treatment

• Dosage given (Give no more than 10 cc of product per injection site. In addition to injection site blemishes, higher amounts of product delivered to one site will affect labeled withdrawal time for meat and withholding time for milk.)

• Route of administration (subcutaneous or intramuscular)

• Location of administration (Antibiotic products labeled for subcutaneous or intramuscular administration should be given in the neck region.)


• Name of person who gave the drug

• Reason for treatment

• Earliest date that the animal will have cleared milk-withholding and meat-withdrawal periods

Remember to keep treatment records on file for a minimum of 24 months after an animal changes owner or location.

Always consult with your veterinarian and nutritionist for specific recommendations for your operation. PD

—Excerpts from Dairy Calf & Heifer Association Tip of the Week March 8, 2011