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An Overview of Extra-Label Drug Use
Extra-label drug use (ELDU) is the use of a medication in a manner other than what is specified on the label, such as:
- In a different species
- At a different dose
- For a longer duration
- By a different route of administration
- At a different treatment frequency
- In combination with other drugs
- For a different class of animals (i.e lactating versus non-lactating, lactating versus meat animals)
- For a different disease condition
There are very few antimicrobial products that have label claims that include sheep and goat species. This poses a serious challenge to the industries in Canada — most antimicrobial use is extra-label!
Fortunately, medications that are approved in other species can work in sheep and goats; the challenge is refinement — knowing the right dose (how much to give), duration (how long to give it), route (e.g. intramuscular versus subcutaneous), and withdrawal times (how long until the drug residues have left the tissues or milk of the treated animal). Knowing all these things can be challenging — your veterinarian is the only professional trained to design protocols to treat disease in your herd/flock.