Diagnosis & treatment Advice

  • Prudent use

    • Formularies
    • Less is more
    • Product of choice

    Prudent use

    The aim of Dechra Veterinary Products is the prudent use of antibiotics. The choice of antibiotics can best be made based on a first, second or third choice. The lists are called “Formularies”. The aim is to get a structured prescription of antibiotics.  We recommend using single antibiotics and not combinations, unless registered as such. Keep the indicated dose and days of treatment as indicated on the label. Dechra provides water soluble powders with optimal solubility and stability in drinking water for oral medication in food-producing animals. Also the exact dosage and complete uptake of the active ingredients. Attached you will find a short guide about the responsible use of antibiotics through correct administration.

    CLICK HERE to read Dechra’s short guide for drinking water medication.


    • Antibiotic sensitivity

      • Farm specific sensitivity
      • General parameters


      With antibiotic sensitivity we are referring to the susceptibility of bacteria to antibiotics. Different tests can be executed to determine which antibiotic will be most successful in treating a certain bacterial infection, this is called antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST). There are multiple procedures to test for antibiotic sensitivity. One of them is the determination of MIC values, which is the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration, including Agar and Broth dilution methods. Often used is the Kirby-Bauer method. Bacteria grow upon a plate and when bacteria are sensitive to a certain antibiotic, a clear ring or zone of inhibition is visible on the plate. Other methods to test antimicrobial susceptibility include the Stokes method and Etest.


      To prevent resistance, it is necessary to use fewer antibiotics, since resistance can develop with each exposure of bacteria to antibiotics. When antibiotics are required, they must be used correctly if the animal is to receive an effective dosage. A dosage that is too low or treatment that is administered for too short period increases the likelihood of deveoping resistance.

      • Treatment advice

        • Vet work

        Treatment advice

        Administering antibiotics through drinking water has many advantages. It is for instance easier to change the dosage during the medication period and it is easier to change the product choice in case initial treatment shows to be less effective. Because of these many advantages there is a tendency of antibiotics being used more in drinking water than in feed and the expectation is that this tendency will spread throughout Europe. However, administering antibiotics via the drinking water can cause problems such as clogged piping or drinking nipples.

        CLICK HERE to read more about (dis)advantages or oral administration

      Dosage calculation

      • Product differences

        • Label dosages
        • Pharmacokinetics
        • SoluStab

        Product differences

        • Label dosages

        Every product has its own dose !

        • Pharmacokinetics

        The active substance has also to reach the right target organs. This is determined by the pharmacokinetic features. This also influences the onset of action and the time needed for excretion.

        • SoluStab® technology:

        In ordinary drinking water all kind of environmental bacteria, yeasts and fungi can be found. By adding antibiotics most bacteria and a lot of yeasts and fungi will be killed. The surviving micro-organisms will multiply exponentially and at the end block the system by their sheer numbers or by mucus formation. The excipients of medicines are often sugars, an energy source for the micro-organisms in the water. This again will enhance the growth of environmental organisms in the water system. In order to overcome these problems Dechra Veterinary Products has developed the SoluStab® Technology: It combines a maximum solubility together with an optimal stability after dissolution for the products with this label. Dechra developed special buffers and solution enhancers to achieve these goals. As a consequence of optimal solubility and stability in drinking water (stock solutions), the animals will receive a complete dosage of antibiotics. This is the best way to assure optimal antibiotic efficacy in the animals, but also minimizes the chance of antibiotic resistance building up.

        CLICK HERE to read more about SoluStab® Technology


        • Weighing mistakes

          • Equipment
          • Shelf life reminders
          • Volume vs. weight

          Weighing mistakes

          The use of suitably calibrated weighing equipment is recommended. When using the wrong amount of product you might face problems like not enough product that reach the animals or less solubility of the product in water. Also:

          • Shelf life reminders

          Store the product opened or closed not longer than the terms listed on the label.

          • Volume vs. weight

          Weighing is better than estimating a volume.

          • Calculation mistakes

            • Calculator
            • Mg / Kg
            • Product concentration

            Calculation mistakes

            The dosage and duration of the treatment should be determined accurately. When the dosage is calculated and the solution has been prepared, the metering pump needs to be configured. The water intake of the animals to be treated needs to be accurately monitored. If necessary, the dosage can be changed the following day. At the end of each treatment, the livestock breeder and veterinarian together should evaluate the effect of the treatment. The amount of the antibiotics required for a solution is shown in the file below: Calculating the amount of antibiotics in a solution.

            For all water soluble products a stock solution can be made. Keep the recommended doses on the label and do not exceed the maximum solubility levels.

            Download the App iMedicate® on your smartphone/tablet or use the website iMedicate.eu , it will allow you to quickly calculate the amount of product needed for treatment of farm animals, based on dosages written on the product packaging. This tool, developed by Dechra Veterinary Products, helps you to calculate the amount of the product required each day and the amount of stock solution that has to be prepared to administer the product. This dosing guide will calculate the amount of product required in just a few seconds and minimize the chance of mistakes. Thus, you saving time and guaranteeing accuracy.

            CLICK HERE to go to the iMedicate® calculator.

            CLICK HERE for the formula to calculate the aquired amount of antibiotic



            Product mixing

            • Dissolving risks

              • Amount / L
              • Method
              • pH

              Dissolving risks

              There are multiple factors which could influence the solubility of a product in water.

              • Amount/L

              Do not exceed the maximum solubility of the product. This is indicated on the label. You can also download and use the iMedicate® app to calculate the right dosage, or go to www.iMedicate.eu

              • pH

              pH is very important for some products ; a higher pH can improve the solubility (amoxicillin) . Other products dissolve better in acid water is a low pH (doxycycline). pH measures the concentration of free hydrogen ions (H+) and is also referred to as acidity. Water is capable of dissolving almost all ions (maintaining in dissolved form). pH uses a logarithmic scale: when something becomes ten times more acidic (ten times more free hydrogen ions), the pH number decreases by one unit. In a substance 100 times as acidic, the pH decreases by two units. Thus, a liquid with a pH of 4.5 is 100 times more acidic than a liquid with a pH of 6.5.

              • Method

              It is recommended to first prepare a stock solution. The needed amount should be diluted in the needed amount of stock solution in one
              go. Do not pour in tiny bits, as than the pH drop of the stock solution compared to the pH of the product is so big, that the tmp/s can come out of solution and precipitate. The pH of the product inside the cannister is very high. The daily amount is to be added to the drinking water such that all medication will be
              consumed in 24 hours. Medicated drinking water and stock solutions should be freshly prepared every 24 hours. The freshly prepared stock slution is stable for 24 hours.

              As a consequence of optimal solubility and stability (SoluStab®) in drinking water (stock solutions), the animals will receive a complete dosage of antibiotics. This is the best way to assure optimal antibiotic efficacy in the animals, but also minimises the chance of antibiotic resistance building up.

              • Interactions

                • Other AB's
                • Other products
                • Water


                Klaas van Aken DVM
                Marketing Manager Food-producing
                Animal Products at Dechra
                Implications of water quality deviations
                on drinking water medication
                Watch now


                • Other antibiotics

                In principle antibiotics cannot be mixed unless registered as such.

                • Other products

                Chlorides are used to clean the interior of the tubes of a drinking water circuit. Vitamin C lowers stress in poultry and substances lowering the pH are used to improve digestibility in piglets. All three were tested when mixed with 4 major water soluble drugs Methoxasol®, Octacillin®,Soludox® and Solacyl®.


                • Water

                Water can be hard or soft containing Fe and or Mn. It can be acid or alkali. This can influence the solubility. Therefore this was tested.
                Dechra provides test kits to measure pH and hardness of well water

                IMG_3416 IMG_3408 IMG_3413

                CLICK HERE  For more information on interactions or read the files below.

              • Water quality

                • Ca / Fe
                • pH
                • Precipitations

                Water quality

                One of the preferred choices of medication in intensive animal husbandry is water medication; providing medicines by dissolving them in drinking water. Water medication is relatively easy, labour saving and cost effective, as long as its carried out in a proper manner. Conditions such as a good and stable infrastructure, adequate maintenance of the drinking water system, quality drinking water, and suitable medicines are key factors for success.

                DrCounotte MrStraathof
                Dr. Guillaume Counotte Joost Straathof
                Toxicologist at GD Deventer Independent consultant for animal drinking water quality and equipment at JSWater
                1. Animal drinking water                   quality 2. A pragmatic approach for
                monitoring water quality
                Watch now Watch now

                CLICK HERE For more information on water quality.

                Water transport

                • Cleaning and disinfection

                  • Agents
                  • Biofilms
                  • Frequency

                  Cleaning and disinfection

                  It is very important to clean and disinfect drinking water systems regularly, preferably every time the stable is empty when the animals are transported out. Cleaning should be done immediately after a round of administering medication via drinking water. Drinking water systems can also be cleaned before the use of medication, in order to be certain that the piping is clean when medication is added to the water. It is important that drinking water pipes are cleaned regularly to prevent potential problems such as clogged piping and drinking nipples. A number of specialist products are available on the market to facilitate the proper cleaning and disinfection of piping. A survey of the use of drinking water and drinking water medication in practice reveals that livestock breeders clean piping using chlorine, organic acids, peracetic acid and/or cleaning agents based on hydrogen peroxide.

                  • Agents

                  Especially chlorides are used for cleaning but also hydrogen peroxide and organic- and per acetic acids. See also chapter 4 of the Watermedication guide below

                  • Biofilms

                  Products that contain sugars like lactose have the disadvantage to form biofilms in the circuit leading to clogged pipes and nipples.
                  Watch this video to learn more about biofilms and the solution for those problems.

                  Click here to open the brochure on Biomass production potential of antibiotic solutions intended for application in animal drinking water.

                  The brochure describes the validated test Dechra performed to review 3 doxycycline-containing, water-soluble powders on their individual effects on the (re)growth of microorganisms in drinking water systems. These powders, in particular, differ in the composition of their buffers and fillers.

                  • Frequency

                  Cleaning and disinfection should be executed every time a stable is empty and after every  round of medication through the water. If this is not done sufficiently the chance on formation of biofilm is much higher.

                  blocked pipe

                  CLICK HERE For more information on cleaning and disinfection

                  • System quality

                    • Dosing equipment
                    • Installation
                    • Maintenance
                    • Materials

                    System quality

                    It is important that the drinking water is able to flow through the piping and out of the drinking nipples or other taps without obstruction. Blockages in piping or nipples can drastically reduce the availability of water to the animals. If the availability of water is too low, the water intake can decrease. A lower water intake also means a lower feed intake, and hence a lower yield. To ensure the proper availability of drinking water for animals and the correct administration of drinking water medication, in addition to good quality drinking water, a good drinking water system is very important. Drinking water problems developing after the administration of antibiotics usually indicate poor water quality or a poor drinking water system. When problems occur on a farm after the administration of medication via the drinking water, in addition to a test of the water quality, a thorough test of drinking water systems is important. Read the watermedication guide on the ways in which a poor drinking water system can cause problems such as clogged piping and nipples. It also defines what a good drinking water system is and how to prevent or remedy problems.

                    CLICK HERE for more information on system quality

                    Good system

                    • Dosing equipment

                      • Dosatrons
                      • Header tanks
                      • Stock solution volumes

                      Dosing equipment

                      When analysing the drinking water system, the way in which medication is added to the drinking water must also be determined. Medication can be administered via a medicine tank, via the float tank or using electric or mechanical dosing equipment. Read the manual below for more info on equipment for administering medication via drinking water.


                      CLICK HERE For more information on dosing equipment and look at the good system below.

                    Cure rate

                    • Therapeutic evaluation

                      • Vet work

                      Therapeutic evaluation

                      At the end of each treatment, the livestock breeder and veterinarian together should evaluate the effect of the treatment.



                      • Water intake

                        • Day and night rhythms
                        • Disease status
                        • Water temperature

                        Work in progress.


                        • Availability of medicated water

                          • Clogged lines
                          • Nipple size
                          • Nipples per pen

                          Availability of medicated water

                          Drinking water medication is the most efficient and safest way to treat a herd of animals if the facilities are optimum. The water intake of sick animals is greater and longer in comparison to feed. This provides a greater guarantee concerning the medicine intake in most sick animals.

                          But there can occur some problems in which animals have less water intake (and so less medication). The taste of drinking water is important for good water intake. This requires the water to have good chemical and bacteriological properties. Iron (Fe > 10 mg/l) or salt (Na > 400 mg/l) levels that are too high can affect the water’s taste causing the animal’s water intake to be reduced. Decreased water intake can lead to reduced feed intake, and thus to decreased yield. Especially young animals learning to drink water are very sensitive to the taste of water. The safety of water is assessed based on its chemical and bacteriological properties.

                          Chemical assessment includes:

                          • Nitrogen components (ammonium, nitrite and nitrate)
                          • Salts (sodium, chloride, sulphate)
                            A major change in the drinking water’s salt content (as a results of sodium chloride, used to soften the water) results in decreased water intake, due to the changed taste of the water.
                          • Minerals (calcium and magnesium = water hardness)
                          • Metals (iron and manganese)
                            Manganese undergoes a chemical bond with the stainless steel piping, causing black-brown deposits on the inside of the piping. The black-brown deposits can suddenly dislodge, causing water pipes and drinking water systems to become clogged. This can also result in the decreased flow of water. Both situations result in a reduction in the amount of water available to the animal. Manganese reacts with oxygen in the water and forms manganese oxide (the reaction lasts approximately 25 seconds) causing a black, granular deposit. Deposits in the drinking water system lead to decreased water flow and can clog drinking nipples.

                          Pharmacists add taste correctors to sulfonamides in order to mask the bitter taste, but it can decrease the intake of water even more!.
                          Animals must have adequate access to drinking water. For drinking water via drinking nipples, the height of the drinking nipples, the number of animals per drinking nipple, the water flow rate per nipple and the accessibility of drinking nipples are important.

                          For more information read water quality and system quality and read Dechra’s Watermedication guide.