How Drugs Can be Ineffective with Overuse
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How Drugs Can be Ineffective with Overuse

Overuse of drugs on farms can lead to many problems. One way drugs can become ineffective is through microbe resistance. When a flock of birds become sick, one way to fight the illness is with the correct drug. Each time that same drug is used to fight subsequent outbreaks of the same illness; the drug slowly becomes ineffective as microbes become resistant to it. The microbes over time will modify a gene in order to survive the drug exposure. The altered microbe can infect a new flock of birds and limit the treatment options. Development of microbe resistance to a specific drug is usually a slow process, but a new treatment will be necessary for future outbreaks of the illness.

It may not be necessary to treat illness immediately with drugs. A few birds can break with an illness and the best treatment may be to delay drug use. Allowing birds to build antibodies to illnesses can help flock production. The antibodies can be passed on to younger flock generations. Overuse and overdosing with drugs can also be ineffective by causing harm to healthy birds. Using a drug for longer than its intended use can hurt a bird’s natural microbial flora. The drug in some healthy birds may kill the microbes in the birds gut important for digestion. The once healthy birds will look sick and may even die.

Use of drugs may be needed to control a break out in flocks. Overuse of drug treatments may cause harm to healthy birds or create microbe resistance. Both of these issues can lead to a loss in production and profit. Monitoring of drug use and following labeled instructions will help control issues with drug effectiveness.


Marie Zanton
MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc.

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