The idea of antibiotic resistance and the creation of “super” bugs are getting a lot of press lately. These issues ù fueled by public concerns ù have the potential to drastically alter what products you and veterinarians have available to treat livestock, says Jim Jarrett, veterinarian and executive vice president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

What can you do at the producer level to combat the problem? For starters, explains Jarrett, make sure you always follow these rules for the prudent use of antibiotics on your operation:

1 Get a sound diagnosis before you treat any animals.

2 Continue treatment for the full time required. If an animal looks better after two doses but your veterinarian said to give it three, you need to follow through.

3 Have your veterinarian run an antibiotic-sensitivity test to determine which drug will work best.

4 Don’t use a single antibiotic as a broad treatment for all the animals in your operation. Use antibiotics tailored for the specific disease you are treating.

5 Before using any antibiotic, check with your veterinarian concerning any new handling, usage or withdrawal guidelines or restrictions.