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Alabama Meat Goat Safety & Quality Assurance

Alabama Meat Goat Safety and Quality Assurance Dr. Diego M. Gimenez Jr., Extension Specialist, Associate Professor

Assuring the consumer that Alabama goat producers are providing goat products that meet or exceed expectations every time. That they are good to eat, that they are safe and healthy, they taste good and are tender.

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Good Production Practice # 1

Responsible Drug/Vaccine Use

There are two classes of drugs: over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx).

Over-the-Counter Drugs (OTC)

OTC drugs are those that can be purchased anywhere without a veterinarian’s prescription. Drugs are labeled for OTC sale when adequate instructions can be printed on the label. If adequate instructions for use cannot be printed on the label, the drug is classified as prescription (Rx). Try to list on a drug inventory chart all drugs you currently have on hand.

Prescription Drugs (Rx)

Rx drugs must carry the following statement on the label “CAUTION: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.” Prescription drugs are only available from a veterinarian or pharmacist. Any time you use animal health products, even if OTC, it is recommended that you first talk with your veterinarian. The margin of safety for the animal (especially if an accidental overdose should occur), the difficulty in correctly diagnosing the disease, and the safety level for the person administering the drug all are factors which determine whether a drug is available over the counter or by prescription. Every drug approved for use in livestock has labeled instructions. OTC drug labels will have exact printed instructions on dosage, administration, withdrawal times, and handling. If your veterinarian prescribes a drug for use on your animal, he or she will give you a form describing uses, dosage, administration, and withdrawal times for the drug.

Drug Usage

There are “right” and “wrong” ways to use OTC and Rx drugs.

  • Label use is when you use the animal health product exactly as it says on the label. This is the acceptable and legal way producers use most drugs.
  • Off label use is when producers, on their own, use a drug in a manner other than what is on the label. This is ILLEGAL.
  • Extra label use is when a veterinarian prescribes a drug to be used by a producer in a manner other than the directions on the label. A veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) MUST exist before extra-label drug use is legal. 

Note: Feed medication can only be used as directed by the label. It is illegal for a producer or veterinarian to feed medication other than according to the label.


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