As of December, producers will only be able to get antibiotics for their livestock with a prescription from a veterinarian.
The new rules come from a push from Health Canada, which is aimed at preventing the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria resulting over the overuse of the drugs.
Victor Kernaleguen, a veterinarian with Gateway Veterinary Services, said the new rules shouldn’t affect producers that have a relationship with a vet.
“If they work with a veterinarian on a regular basis, it will pretty much be business as usual,” he said.
“The biggest [group of] people it will affect is the ones that don’t tend to go to the vet and try to do everything on their own, that were buying penicillin and liquamycin from the retailers like the co-ops.”
From Kernaleguen’s point of view, a veterinarian should be at a producer’s place at least a few times a year to do things like pregnancy and semen testing. A visit from a vet could help a producer design some herd health protocols.
“Our biggest thing is trying to prevent the problems,” he said. “Instead of having to use antibiotics, what I try and do is put a herd health program together that makes them the least susceptible to needing to use antibiotics as possible.”
That said, there’s always some cases where there’s a need to use antibiotics.
Beekeepers are also included in the new regulations. A small amount of tetracycline is often used to fight infections like American foulbrood.
There’s one thing producers must ensure they have before the Dec. 1 implementation date comes.
“The biggest thing before that date happens is to find a veterinarian that they want to work with and form that relationship right away,” Kernaleguen said. “Then it won’t be an issue.”