I’m a Reformed Antibiotics Abuser

I used to have a pill collection in my bathroom.

Nothing illegal and no addictions, but I was one of those notorious [horrible] people who didn’t use all of an antibiotic prescription and would decide to pop a few if I got a sinus infection six months later because I didn’t want to go to the doctor. Stupid, I know.

Fast forward ten years and now I have a baby cowgirl. And that baby cowgirl had a sinus infection a few weeks ago – I tried helping her on my own by keeping her humidifier going full time, giving her baby Tylenol for her fever, and annihilating mucus with a NoseFrida (which we both hated). I felt helpless and so heartbroken for my sick little one; unfortunately, she didn’t get better on her own and after a few days her cough started to sound throaty so off we went to the doctor’s office. She prescribed Amoxicillin, to be used for seven days and then thrown out. I obeyed these instructions to a tee, with more diligence than I have ever taken with my own health. I didn’t want baby girl to experience any more discomfort than she already had and I was thankful when her symptoms were allayed and she became her normal smiley self again. God Bless antibiotics because I don’t even want to imagine a situation where antibiotics won’t defeat what ails her. Here’s the truth folks:

Antibiotic resistance is a very real threat that I now
take very seriously – parenthood changes you.

I grew up with a few 4-H animals, lots of horses and some roping cattle, so I was always well-aware that animals get sick and need treatment. And, I had no problem following the vet’s treatment instructions for a calf but for some reason, I did not let that basic knowledge spill over into my personal life. I knew that we should treat calves and pigs when they were sick and throw away unused antibiotics that were expired. Additionally, we make sure that we are using the appropriate antibiotic and following the dosage instructions. Again, I have no idea why I didn’t adhere to this same mindset when dealing with my own health.

Newly weaned calves on a Kansas ranch
Some of these calves needed treatment after weaning – an antibiotic was prescribed and used to clear up their illness.

I never want a situation to arise where my actions on the ranch negatively affect another person. A few weeks ago, we received a lot of rain which led to a ridiculous amount of mud. I love rain – hate mud. Anyway, the mud paired with chilly nights led to some runny-nosed, sick calves. We called the vet to determine the appropriate course of action and then decided to ‘treat’ them (‘treat’ in this case, means treatment, not a DQ Blizzard). If we had not treated these calves, we could have marketed them to a ‘natural’ brand and received a premium. However, the right thing to do when any animal is sick is to treat using an antibiotic, so we did. We kept those calves separate and monitored their health to make sure they got back up to speed. Because of that treatment, we kept those calves at our ranch 28 days before we sent them to the market auction to ensure that the antibiotic had metabolized and was out of their system.

I told you those stories so you understand how seriously I regard antibiotic use in livestock. I never want an animal to suffer, just as how I don’t want my daughter to suffer. So when I say that I am treating our cattle judiciously and paying attention to withdrawal times and dosage instruction, you can take that to the bank. Our vet lives eight miles away (which is not far in terms of rural life) and happens to be a long-time college friend. She knows our operation, our practices and takes her job just as seriously as we take ours. We work together to keep our cattle healthy and our beef and yours (because honestly, it’s one in the same) safe. Last month, I disposed of a very expensive bottle of medicine that was left over from previous treatments and had expired. I literally threw away $150 and while that pained me a bit, I also know that it’s the responsible thing to do as a steward of livestock and the beef supply.

[bctt tweet = “We work together to keep our cattle healthy and our beef, and yours, safe”]

At the end of the day, I want my family and cattle to be healthy. I want to feed my family safe beef that helps them grow and live healthy lives. And I will use the necessary tools to make that happen, snotty noses and all.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Want posts in your inbox? Just sign up in the right sidepane on the homepage and you’ll have new posts delivered to your inbox, hot and fresh on a semi-weekly basis!


2 responses to “I’m a Reformed Antibiotics Abuser”

  1. Jan Archer Avatar
    Jan Archer

    Well done. Great Explanation. I am putting your blog in my future presentations about our collective ag industries!

    1. bbuzzard13@gmail.com Avatar

      Thank you!