Drug Shortage Affecting Pets and Livestock in Southeast Texas

NOME, Texas — A nationwide drug shortage impacted the supply of cold remedies for children in December and is now affecting animals.

Dr. Rusty Hall of Riceland Veterinary Clinic in Nome has been treating animals large and small for over 40 years.

But since the COVID-19 pandemic, shortages of four key medicines have made his job harder, he said.

“Too many products that aren’t made in the U.S. come from China and India, and I think that’s the biggest part of the problem,” Hall said.

Hall says the shortage has even led to the deaths of a dozen animals in southeastern Texas.

Shortages have affected cattle and goats in need of tetanus and other vaccines.

“We’ve had 16 castrated calves die in one place and we couldn’t buy tetanus,” Hall said.

Antibiotics and heartworm medicines for cats and dogs may also be unavailable due to shortages.

However, Dr. Hall recommends using generic brands for ranchers and pet owners.

Rancher Jurnee Hamilton said he had to substitute similar medicines for his regular medicines because they were out of stock or not getting enough of a particular brand of medicine.

Other ranchers, such as Kennedy Evans, agree that vaccine delays mean delayed production and profits.

“A lot of people are giving birth to calves right now, which means they don’t have the immunity and they can be at greater risk, so eventually we end up selling these calves. I would like to,” Evans said.

Hall said the Food and Drug Administration will require ranchers to buy antibiotics directly from veterinarians, not over the counter, starting in June.

But Hall believes it won’t have any effect on drug shortages.

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