Date of this Version



© 1988, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide discusses the use of antibiotics in animals, approved drugs and extra-label drugs, and ways to test for drug residue. Infectious diseases in livestock are costly, and prevention is the best approach to minimize such losses. Yet despite good management practices and extensive preventive measures, disease outbreaks do occur, and treatments become necessary. To obtain antibiotic residue-free products from food animals, knowledgeable decisions regarding the use of medications are necessary. It is important to realize that antibiotic treatments are used only to eliminate or shorten the duration of existing infections, or to prevent secondary bacterial infections. These infections may reduce performance or threaten the life of the animal if treatment is not provided in a timely fashion.