Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Disposal dates of meds  (Read 1279 times)


  • Joined Aug 2018
Disposal dates of meds
« on: September 15, 2020, 09:28:25 am »
Just out of interest, what are your opinions on the disposal date of injectable meds? Iíve looked at antibiotics and metacam, all of which say dispose of after 28 days. How much truth is there in the need to do this? Is it just because it may become less effective over time? It seems most of the time youíd take one dose out and the rest would end up in the bin. I understand with live meds like Heptavac, where theyíre temperature controlled, but I know people that have old bottles of stuff rolling around the truck floor and still using. My vet quoted me nigh on £150 at lambing for a bottle of metacam, to use a couple of doses and throw away just doesnít make it economically viable!


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Disposal dates of meds
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2020, 10:27:24 am »
I think the dates are there for a reason but obviously they aren't going to deteriorate overnight but will over a period of time. But like everything there has to be a date on them. How long that period of time is? Well who knows?

For expensive stuff that you aren't going to use the bottle then the vet could most likely give you the amount you actually need but if they will be left with the rest of the bottle then they are going to charge the full bottle.

Antibiotics certainly last  longer than the bottle date but I couldn't give an exact.

Yes. many people open and store vaccines like Heptavac and if you opened a bottle today and finished it tomorrow it will probably be ok but after that it wont. Might as well inject with water.

As a first responder we have to throw out unused bandages after the use by date. Now that is daft!


  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Disposal dates of meds
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 11:14:31 am »
I never understood that about bandages either! My brother in law brought me a load of bandages and stuff from his workplace (my sister was worried I was going to chop my arm off one day I think!) All was either almost or out of date. Plasters too. I guess a plaster can become less sticky?! But I donít know what happens to a bandage!

I got an antibiotic dose from the vet today. Itís if you have to buy a bottle of something with painkiller in that it hurts to dump half of it away  ;)


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Disposal dates of meds
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2020, 11:45:27 am »
I suppose how much farm work a vet does. If they do lots then they will probably be happy to give you doses from a bottle. Or if it is something they use in the surgery.

Save up the bandages and at least you have a ready made fancy dress!  :roflanim:


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Disposal dates of meds
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2020, 01:47:25 pm »
In human medicine, out of date stuff is sent off to 'third world countries' to be used. If it's OK to be used then it's OK, whether or not it's past it's use-by date so why can't we use it here? and if it's not OK to use here then why send it on to other people? I'm sure there's a word for that but I can't think of it.

Some meds we keep beyond the use-by date, for example Calciject, but not AntiBs.  Our vet will sell single doses of metacam or an unusual AntiB as we don't use much, but we always have a bottle for lambing (haven't used any for years so quite a waste).

The main problem I can see in keeping out of date meds is the way farmers tend to use them. Some may not use a clean syringe and needle with each withdrawal from a bottle, or clean the top, thus contaminating the drug.  Our neighbour gave us an AntiB dose during F&M in an emergency which was very kind of him. However, the syringe and needle were totally filthy - he said 'it's an antibiotic so it doesn't matter'  :o ::) Total stuff and nonsense of course.

So if you know your sterile technique is flawless then it's probably OK to keep bottles a bit beyond their use-by date in some circumstances, but if not then don't do it. You are risking making your animal sicker, of causing an abscess at the injection site, and/or using a drug which is no longer effective.
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  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Disposal dates of meds
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2020, 11:44:45 am »
I never use anything past the use by date, mainly because you can't be sure the drug would be effective. We tend to keep a bottle of white antibiotic in stock at lambing time and do use most of it however we also are calving so meds are shared between the cattle and sheep. Your vet should be able to draw you up some metacam for lambing or the odd lame ewe, rather than having a bottle. They may charge a dispensing fee but it's certainly cheaper than a whole bottle of metacam going to waste.

Incidentally I did ask about my bottle of Spectam this year- it was still in date from when I bought and used half of it last year, and the vets asked the drug company if I could still use it this year- their answer was yes, as it is a very stable antibiotic.


  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Disposal dates of meds
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2020, 12:28:00 pm »
We had a bottle of Hexasol for lambing. I felt like I wanted something to hand if needed and probably used around half of it. They suggested this as a combi AB and painkiller. I couldíve just gone for the standalone AB but I didnít like to think of them being in pain, and although I have no personal knowledge I am sure birth is not painless, especially one thatís required assistance!
I always use a clean needle and syringe. Donít think I didnít cringe when our sheep friend injected our fly stricken lamb with a very grubby, crusty- looking syringe of penstrep!
I always assumed the issue was the potency became reduced over time. How much by and over how long is anyoneís guess.
Interesting about where our out of date ABs go Fleecewife... I can prob think of a word for that too!


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