Veterinary drug residues potential effects on human health

World population is increasing day by day and their requirements for growth as well. Drug not only improve the feed efficiency, weight gain, or prevent and treat the diseases in animals but also help to fulfill the requirements of this growing population of world.

Veterinary drug residues potential effects on human health

There are many types of drugs used in medical profession but synthetic chemicals are most commonly used among all. These chemicals are the modified active compounds having biological activity. These drugs are being used due to their high efficacy, rapid action and instant results.

They control the disease; eliminate the signs and symptoms; recover the body to previous position and ultimately leading to a better health. Although these drugs have a lot of advantages but now a days due to irrational use a lot of problems are being arisen among which the most dangerous is drug residues.

Drug residues are drugs and their metabolites which are present in the edible tissue and milk of the animal after their medication with specific drug”. Drugs which are used in the veterinary have ability to produce residues in the animal derived products like eggs, meat and milk as well which possess a great impact on the health of consumers.

There are many factors which are involved in generating drug residues in animal products and they include: over dosage , not following prescribed withdrawal times, large dose at single site of animal, already used equipment or improper cleaning of equipment use to mix different drugs together.

Open access of animal to the medicated feeds errors in dose calculation, age of animal,pregnancy, disease status,feeding and excretion of animal, chemical interactions of drugs,environmental contamination and agricultural pesticides as well

Residues of veterinary medicines are mostly build up in the kidneys and liver as compare to other tissues of the body however there variation is seen in the different tissues of body depending upon the site and route of administration. Low level of contamination of drugs do not induce any serious hazard to the public health.

However, extensive use of drug on daily basis may impose a threat of residues on the health of the consumers including the resistance of against antibiotic and hypersensitivity reactions. Indirect and long term hazards include microbiological effects, carcinogenicity, reproductive effects and teratogenicity.

Food producing animals have great potential to release residues in their products due to gigantic use of veterinary drugs. Now-a-days, veterinarians are facing a theatrical change regarding the behavior of certain drugs because of their massive prophylactic and therapeutic use.

Up till now, the veterinarians did not pay sufficient attention regarding the control of this threatening condition and ensuring the residue free food to the consumers, as the most likely cause of drug residues is the human management.

Veterinarians are not primarily worried with the increase in production by treating the sick animals and poultry but their vital job is to make sure quality (residue free) edible animal products such as milk, meat and eggs to the public.

The veterinarians working in food animal medicine should learn how to avoid drug/chemical residues in food animals and spread this information to the farmers to maintain the health of general public.

Such problems can be handled by assessment, risk management, risk communication. We have to take serious steps regarding the control of drug residues in the animal derived foods.For this we have to make a clear image of strategic policies against this threatening problem globally.

In our country, we have to make regulatory frame work which is structured with network of laboratories approved for the detection of residues as well as for their control followed by using modern techniques and consultancy of toxicologists and other scientists working in this field. Alternative ways to medication i.e. use of natural things like prebiotics, probiotics, nutraceuticals and botanicals should be encouraged

We are going to face challenging future but along with this challenge cum opportunity, the opportunity to build up a worldwide community of scientists, veterinarians, drugs manufacturers and animal food producers dedicated to supply wholesome and safe food to the tables of the world.

Author: Faisal Saleem*Dr. Rao Zahid and Zohaib Saeed

*Corresponding Author:, +923067647133

  1. Department of Parasitology, University of Agriculture,Faisalabad