Antibiotics will soon require vet prescription

Stockpilejoy

Songster
Jan 13, 2019
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301
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NC
The few occasions I've administered antibiotics to my hens it was last resort and I honestly feel it saved their life. Twice I took a hen to the vet and the expense was outrageous. Because of the high cost I don't think a vet visit will be an option for me in the future. I realize that many feel it best to cull some sickly birds such as those suffering from respiratory illness. I myself don't have the strength emotionally to do that, although I completely understand the reasoning and do not judge others. I don't give away eggs or have birds for the purpose of meat. I do everything I can to keep my small flock alive if indeed they can recover enough to enjoy life without suffering. My flock of 4 are my pets and because I am so darn attached to them I have decided I will not purchase or hatch any chicks in future. Please don't hold me to that. :oops: Afraid with this rule It will be difficult having hens live a long life and I just can't bear the grief of losing pets frequently. It would be heartbreaking not being able to afford a vet visit and end up watching a hen die that could have been saved with an antibiotic. Once I lose my 4 girls, hopefully to old age and not sickness, I may consider adopting rescue chickens. :bow I read many book prior to purchasing chicks so I'd be prepared to give them a good life but I failed to grasp how truly precious and fragile they are. Please know I understand the ruling "No Antibiotics Without RX"...Over use of Antibiotics is a real problem.
 

Stockpilejoy

Songster
Jan 13, 2019
138
301
152
NC
The problem starts with the chicken owner not following biosecurity protocols. Injuries are one thing, but how many threads are posted regarding respiratory diseases or fungal infections in their flock? Just read the examples in the Emergency section where someone unknowingly or knowingly brings sick birds into their otherwise clean flock.

Antibiotics only mask respiratory disease symptoms, birds are never cured.

When people get a cold, they reach for the medicine cabinet. They do the same for birds when they get sick...thinking like a human, if the meds helped me, they'll help my birds.
BIRDS are a different ballgame, they arnt human and shouldnt be treated as such. They are never cured and survivors are carriers for life.

The bottomline; antibiotics are worthless when it comes to the majority of bird diseases. Sick birds are never cured from respiratory diseases and other types of diseases. There ARE exceptions, for example; Coccidiosis if caught early.
For cuts, scrapes and other injuries to prevent infection, antibiotics will be needed.

It boils down to biosecurity and common sense. I am pro antibiotic when they're needed. I've never had a respiratory disease in any of my flocks all these years, one case of a fungal issue which was treated successfully with Oxine. Yes, I practice strict biosecurity.
A few months back my 6.5 year old hen -Harriet starting making loud gurgling sounds, head shaking, and appeared to be losing weight.The only thing I could get her to eat was dried meal worms. I gave her vitamins, treated her for possible crop issues thinking that might be the culprit. Treated her and flock for worms because all had been gaping every now and than 2 weeks prior and thought maybe it was gape worm. Felt it woundn't hurt since they had not been treated for worms in several years since float test was negative each time. At the time even wondered if it was fluid issues since she was diagnosed with fatty liver when she was 1.5 years old. She kept getting worse and her best friend-Ester started making same gurgling sounds. Harriet started acting very lethargic [standing with head down and eyes closed]. At night they both struggled to breath. I could even hear gurgling as I walked up to outside of coop. Each morning I was in fear I'd find them dead. The two younger girls did not show symptoms but felt they too had it since they had been gaping some. I suspected respiratory. I read many post saying how it is never cured and will eventually come back full force. Neither had any discolored discharge in nose or eyes. I knew if I did nothing both girls would die and I could not add to flock due to risk giving it to them. I decided as a last resort to add expired oxytet to water that I had on hand. Felt I had to do all I could since all 4 were exposed. They immediately started showing improvement and on day 6 gurgling was only slight during nighttime hours. Day 8 they seemed completely fine. I was planning on getting a few chicks prior to their respiratory illness but will not now.
 
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microchick

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Lots of good points made. There is a time and place for using antibiotics. I have used them in conjunction with an injury to a bird where there was the danger of infection and in the instance where an injury has caused an eye infection. I usually use them on the bird that is affected and not the whole flock.

Are people over using antibiotics? I'm not saying they aren't BUT out of desperation and in the light of there not being veterinary care available for poultry what is a person to do?

I'm very lucky to have a background in medicine. My husband is a retired eye doctor and he helps me tremendously when I have a sick or injured bird. There is a wealth of information on the internet concerning the use of the right antibiotic for the right condition and it's not hard to figure out the dose to use.

But what I'm saying is for the person who is not as lucky and blessed as I am, a person who has no veterinarian to turn to or medical background to fall back on, Back Yard Chickens is the place they turn to for advice when they have a sick or injured bird. We are all anxious and eager to help one another and let's face it. There are times when we all see photos of injured birds that are frankly ghastly. These birds are in need of antibiotics to cover their compromised immune systems to give them a fighting chance to recover and return to their duties as flock members.

So the owner of one of these birds is desperate for help. No vet, no hope but here. Without the ability to secure antibiotics such as Tylan to treat their birds, let's face it. That bird is going to die and that owner is going to have the heartbreaking duty of either watching it happen or putting their beloved pet down.

I sincerely do not believe that the problem with over use of antibiotics is centered on poultry hobby enthusiasts....unless the enthusiast is running a battery of laying hens (don't get me started on that subject) or has a flock of 10,000 Cornish Cross broilers destined for our dinner tables.

There is where the misuse and overuse of antibiotics is centered not in the back yard or farm yard flock owner. Yet I will bet real money that those big number producers have NO trouble getting a vet to order whatever antibiotic they want that will push their flocks of thousands to produce either more meat or more eggs.

It's like that with any farmer/producer who is raising animals to feed a hungry population. If you have a multi thousand dollar bull and a herd of 200 grass fed black angus steers destined for the dinner table, you (meaning the farmer) cannot afford to take a hit on loosing those animals to illness should it happen.

But to routinely give steers antibiotics and hormones to enhance their ability to produce meat is frankly where the problem lies.

Some time ago I read a study that pulled meat samples from different stores and tested them. ALL contained therapeutic levels of antibiotics and hormones.

And the birds and meat producing animals are probably healthy to start with.

I'm sorry for the rant. As I stated earlier, there is a distinct gray line with this argument. I'm just trying to point out what that grey line is.

What are people going to do? Where are they going to turn for help? We are still going to have to depend on BYC for help and stockpile a few left over antibiotics when the kids or themselves are sick to fall back on when needed.

I'm sure that statement made some gasp but hey, ya do what you have to do.
 

Kathy Golla

Crowing
Jan 2, 2017
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Im with microchick.
I’m surprised the US poultry industry is letting this happen.
Although we all know the stories about their solution just dispatching sick chickens as meat sources or dispatching laying hens at 2, so maybe that’s their loophole around this. Are there tests that are happening to make sure our meat and eggs aren’t infected from something bad from sick hens, swine and cattle? There might be, but I’m not versed in that info.
US doesn’t want antibiotics in their eggs or meat, so the animals become more and more disposable, yet the demand for meat, milk and eggs increases, and it’s a vicious cycle.
Losers in all of this are the poultry hobbyists. Most people can’t afford a vet for livestock, and moreover, even if they wanted to find a poultry vet, they can’t. Poultry is in that middle ground between cats and cattle.
What are mid size swine and cattle operations going to do? They are going to have to call a vet every time their swine, sheep or cattle have a prolapse, eye infection, mastitis or an abscess? Cattle are worth some money.
 
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Kathy Golla

Crowing
Jan 2, 2017
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San Francisco Bay Area
Not having people administer their own antibiotics I think at its core the intentions are correct.
I just think the US is not doing the greatest job trying to figure out where the AB resistance problem lies.
Recent efforts have led to keeping the resistance from getting away from us.
But I have read a couple of studies that when they banned Baytril antibiotics for poultry (isn’t that going on 10 years), they had some studies afterward that showed that the AB resistance didn’t decrease as they thought it would after the Baytril ban. In fact, it has slightly increased. Then, the studies hypothesized we were looking at antibiotics in cattle meat and people doctors overprescribing as the reason for the increase.
I don’t have a reference at hand, this is from memory.
 
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Cyprus

Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
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Im with microchick.
I’m surprised the US poultry industry is letting this happen.
Although we all know the stories about their solution just dispatching sick chickens as meat sources or dispatching laying hens at 2, so maybe that’s their loophole around this. Are there tests that are happening to make sure our meat and eggs aren’t infected from something bad from sick hens, swine and cattle? There might be, but I’m not versed in that info.
US doesn’t want antibiotics in their eggs or meat, so the animals become more and more disposable, yet the demand for meat, milk and eggs increases, and it’s a vicious cycle.
Losers in all of this are the poultry hobbyists. Most people can’t afford a vet for livestock, and moreover, even if they wanted to find a poultry vet, they can’t. Poultry is in that middle ground between cats and cattle.
What are mid size swine and cattle operations going to do? They are going to have to call a vet every time their swine, sheep or cattle have a prolapse, eye infection, mastitis or an abscess? Cattle are worth some money.
Do you have sources to cite to support your claims?

All animals being slaughtered for human consumption and who produce products for human consumption have to undergo mandatory inspection. Companies cannot butcher and process sick animals. That is a fact.
 

Kathy Golla

Crowing
Jan 2, 2017
1,067
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San Francisco Bay Area
Ok that’s good info, that’s why I asked it as a question and said I didn’t know.
So, all I’m saying, is that in commercial poultry operations, if they cannot treat sick birds, what happens to the sick birds? Commercial houses do practice biosecurity, but if this board sees chickens dying of communicable diseases, imagine what could happen in a commercial house. We are talking poultry houses with millions of birds at a time. I suppose it’s fertilizer, and animal by products, not for human consumption.
 
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