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Combat antiparasitic resistance with new labels


SILVER SPRING, Md. — A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) public meeting in 2012 to discuss antiparasitic drugs and resistance issues in ruminant and equine populations has yielded new recommendations from the federal agency.

This is aimed at drug manufacturers to help end-users better prevent the growing problem of resistance, according to information released by the agency in early December. At that meeting, explained in a letter to drug sponsors on Nov. 29: “A panel of veterinary parasitology experts participated in an extensive discussion on anthelmintic resistance in the United States and around the world.

“During that discussion, the panel agreed that in general, end-users of these products were not aware of the emergence of anthelmintic drug resistance in parasites of grazing species in the U.S. The panel also agreed that end-users were not adequately informed regarding antiparasitic resistance development, and appropriate drug use and management practices.”

As a result, the FDA has asked animal drug companies to voluntarily revise the labels of all prescription and over-the-counter for approved antiparasitic animal drug products, specifically anthelmintics (antiparasitic drugs) commonly given to cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, swine and horses.

The new label guidelines emphasize proper dosing for dewormer medications and encourage producers to work with veterinarians to monitor animals and herds, as well as to develop an overall parasite control program. Veterinarians and industry officials say the new label guidelines help to raise awareness of a growing issue they face daily.

“Antiparasitic resistance has been an ongoing topic of discussion in the cattle industry for several years,” said Kathy Simmons, chief veterinarian for the National Cattleman’s Beef Assoc. “The hope is that the labeling changes will bring an increased understanding of how best to use these products to prevent future resistance.”

Dr. Dale Brown, ambulatory veterinarian and shareholder in Rood & Riddle Animal Equine Hospital, helped develop his practice’s protocols for deworming and vaccines. Working with the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center, he and other veterinarians at Rood & Riddle now recommend a more targeted deworming approach for patients, versus the blanket approach that has been popular in the industry for years.

“We worked closely with Gluck Equine Center to come up with a new protocol to recommend to our clients, to really push home trying to do more fecal egg counts and less deworming and do a more targeted deworming approach at our farms here, versus what we could consider a blanket approach where every horse gets the same dewormer every 30 or 60 days,” Brown explained.

“That being said, it’s just a protocol, and each farm we encourage to work closely with their vet to set up a protocol that is best for their farm, because some farms have more resistance issues than others.”

Brown, whose practice focuses mostly on Thoroughbreds but also sees Quarter Horse breeds, Standardbred horses, Saddlebred and Arabians, believes the FDA guidelines are positive to raise awareness but may not be a solution to the resistance issue.

“Do I think just changing the labeling on the boxes is going to change everybody’s mind about how they use dewormers? Not necessarily. I think it takes a lot of education from the veterinarian and the drug companies talking directly to clients, too, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction because it gets that in people’s minds.

“The more it’s out there and being seen and read, maybe the quicker it sinks home.”

Dr. Buddy Ray, owner of Bovine Consulting Associates LLC, has been in practice for 40 years, during which he’s seen few new dewormer medications introduced into the marketplace.

“We haven’t had any brand new chemicals for worming in a considerable number of years, so we’re using the same products and we’re rotating between different products to help with the resistance, but because we don’t have anything brand new, basically over time we’re developing resistance,” he said.

Based in Mayfield, Ky. Ray’s company is a leading regional practice for the treatment of livestock cattle, which he said are seeing more antiparasitic drug resistance. He’d like the FDA to take a different approach to the issue.

“From the FDA standpoint, I think, be proactive and put a need out to the drug companies that we need some new compounds for worming for amphelmatics.”