Veterinary drugs are used as therapeutic, prophylactic and growth promotion, and can be used in either rational or irrational way. Rational use of drugs means the sick animals receive medications appropriate to their clinical needs, in doses that meet their own individual requirements, for an adequate period of time, and at the lowest cost to them and their community. Irrational drug uses are characterized by over-prescription, inappropriate dosage, incorrect duration and unnecessary risk. There are several reasons which may contribute to irrational use of drugs. Some of them are lack of information, inadequate training and education of graduates of veterinary medicine, poor communication between veterinarian and owner, lack of diagnostic facilities, demand from the animal owner, and promotional activities of pharmaceutical industries. Hence, the potential public health hazard as a result of irrational drug use in food animals includes limited efficacy, increase risk of unwanted effects such as the emergence of drug resistance and drug residue, waste of resources and psychosocial impacts. However; rational use of drugs in veterinary medicine has manifold significance; it can be either public health significance, improve food safety concern, reduce the development of drug resistance and residue or economic significance; the need to rely on more expensive drugs and international trade barrier. Some of the measures that promote rational drug use are: herd health management, alternatives for antimicrobials growth promoters, adhering to withdrawal period and minimizing misuse of antimicrobials.
Key words: Rational/irrational use, veterinary drugs, drug residue, and resistance
E. coli, Escherichia coli; FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization; GIT, gastro-intestinal tract; GP, growth promoter; IDU, irrational drug use; JECFA, Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives; MRL, maximum residue level; NAS, National Academic Sciences; OIE, Office International des Epizooties; RDU, Rational drug Use; Vet, veterinary; Vet. Med, veterinary medicine; WHO, World Health Organization; WP, withdrawal period.
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