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Off Label Use and Withholding Periods

It is very important to always read, understand and follow any instructions given on a product.

Following the directions or usage guidelines is most important when it comes to treating animals. The instructions should always be followed and the dose rates must be correct. Using too little of a product can make it ineffective and too much can be unnecessary and could make the animal sick. If there are no instructions for use a particular species (including humans) the product cannot be used on that species. Use on an unlisted species can be particularly dangerous, and could make the animal sick, cause death or make animals unsafe for human consumption.

“Off Label” use is when a product is used in a way that is not directed on the label or on a species that is not listed on the label or for a purpose that is not stated on the label. “Off Label” use can dangerous and should not be considered unless advised by a veterinarian. Sometimes vet’s may advise use of a product in a way that is not listed on the label. The advice and instructions from the veterinarian must be followed very carefully.

When using products on animals that are for human consumption it is most important that the “Withholding Periods” are understood and followed. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, states that “Withholding Periods are the minimum period which must elapse between the last administration or application of a pesticide or veterinary medicine, including treated feed, and the slaughter, collection, harvesting or use of the animal or crop commodity for human consumption. WHP’s are mandatory for domestic slaughter and are on the label of every registered product”. (http://www.apvma.gov.au/residues/esi_whp/index.php, 2011)

Misuse of a product could result in the stated Withholding Periods on the product being incorrect. Using products that are not recommended on a species can result in unknown withholding periods or varying withholding periods and can mean that animals are not safe for human consumption.

If you do not understand the directions on a product or have any questions you should contact a veterinarian, the supplier or the manufacturer of the product.

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