Follow label directions on medications

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All livestock pharmaceuticals should be used according to label directions to avoid drug-residue violations in meat and dairy products.

According to the Dairy Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) Certification manual, open and consistent communication between dairy producers and a veterinarian is needed to assure quality control, animal well-being, and prevention of drug and chemical residues. Using animal health products exactly as they are labeled or prescribed by a veterinarian, with whom the producer has a valid Veterinary Client/Patient Relationship (VCPR), is required for DACQA Certification.

If you do not carefully follow label directions on medications, these common mistakes can occur:

  • Treating a condition that is not indicated on the label (other than prescribed by a veterinarian)
  • Treating a type of animal not indicated on the medication label
  • Using more than the dosage indicated on the label (other than prescribed by a veterinarian)
  • Not following the proper withdrawal time of the medication. Often the meat withdrawal is longer than the milk withdrawal. Be aware of this when making treatment decisions on cows that have a high probability of being culled
  • Failing to clean out water and feed systems when medications are used
  • Improper administration of a drug
  • Improper storage of drugs

For more information on following label directions, check out some of the BQA YouTube video podcasts. See also section IV-A of the DACQA manual and Section VIII of the DCHA Gold Standards III.         

DACQA is a voluntary, national certification program intended to enhance and demonstrate quality animal care practices that assure food safety, quality and value as well as enhance consumer confidence in the milk and beef products harvested from cattle on America’s dairy farms.


DCHA is the only national association dedicated to serving the dairy calf and heifer industry. The association strives to provide information, education and access to leading research and technology to its members and the calf and heifer industry. DCHA’s
Gold Standards III also offers practical recommendations for humane handling of dairy calves and heifers, from birth to freshening.



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