Veterinary Therapeutic and Biologic Agents in Virginia Sheep Production
Rorrer, Rebecca Kathleen
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Biological and therapeutic agents are used in food animal production to maintain animal health and well being, prevent and treat disease, and to maintain or enhance production. Concerns about the use of pharmaceutical agents in food animal production have been raised, especially in relation to food quality and safety. This study addressed the scarcity of information concerning the quantity of pharmaceuticals being used and the reasons for their use in sheep production. Additional goals included determining the sources of information used by shepherds in making treatment decisions and evaluating the economic impact that pharmaceutical usage has on sheep production. Thirty-nine Virginia sheep producers participated in this study of four months duration from March through September. After completing an initial questionnaire to determine flock and management characteristics, participants were asked to record all treatments with biological and therapeutic agents that occurred within their sheep flocks. A total of 14,310 treatments were recorded for a median of 1.5 treatments per sheep per month. Parasite control and vaccination were the most frequent reasons for treatment (64.9% and 15.2%, respectively) with vitamin/mineral supplementation being the next most common (8.8%). Price information was collected for 13,912 treatment events. An estimated total of $7,523.78 was spent on pharmaceutical treatment over the course of the study. This amounts to a cost of $0.63 per sheep per month of observation. Results of this study will enhance the ability of producers to evaluate treatment decisions, allow comparisons to be made between operations and provide a base of information for future research.
- Masters Theses