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Storage of prescription veterinary medicines on UK dairy farms: a cross-sectional study
  1. Gwen M Rees1,
  2. David C Barrett1,
  3. Henry Buller2,
  4. Harriet L Mills3 and
  5. Kristen K Reyher1
  1. 1Bristol Veterinary School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2School of Geography, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  3. 3MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence; gwen.rees{at}


Prescription veterinary medicine (PVM) use in the UK is an area of increasing focus for the veterinary profession. While many studies measure antimicrobial use on dairy farms, none report the quantity of antimicrobials stored on farms, nor the ways in which they are stored. The majority of PVM treatments occur in the absence of the prescribing veterinarian, yet there is an identifiable knowledge gap surrounding PVM use and farmer decision making. To provide an evidence base for future work on PVM use, data were collected from 27 dairy farms in England and Wales in Autumn 2016. The number of different PVMs stored on farms ranged from 9 to 35, with antimicrobials being the most common therapeutic group stored. Injectable antimicrobials comprised the greatest weight of active ingredient found, while intramammary antimicrobials were the most frequent unit of medicine stored. Antimicrobials classed by the European Medicines Agency as critically important to human health were present on most farms, and the presence of expired medicines and medicines not licensed for use in dairy cattle was also common. The medicine resources available to farmers are likely to influence their treatment decisions; therefore, evidence of the PVM stored on farms can help inform understanding of medicine use.

  • antimicrobials
  • dairy cattle
  • medicines
  • farm assurance

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  • Funding This study was funded by Langford Trust for Animal Health and Welfare.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This research was approved by the University of Bristol Faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee under approval no 33 021.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. The author affiliations were incorrect.

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