Handling and storing medicines on beef and dairy farms

01 May 2019

Cresswell, L., Richens, I., Wapenaar, W.

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Veterinary medicines that are stored on the majority of UK farms include antimicrobials, anthelmintics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and vaccines. All prescription veterinary medicines have storage requirements as directed on the datasheet or summary of product characteristics (SPC) and there are also specific instructions for how, when and where medicines should be administered. Vaccines often have storage and handling instructions on the SPC in addition to those applied to other medications; most also require maintenance of the ‘cold chain’ consistently between 2 and 8°C and have short shelf lives (usually hours) once bottles have been broached. This article highlights areas where the on-farm handling and storage of medicines (particularly vaccines) could be improved and provides suggestions for how veterinary practices can support clients to ensure that medicines are used to their maximum benefit.