FDA approves new use for popular cattle drug

November 3, 2004: Rumensin®, a brandname antibiotic whose active ingredient is monensin, has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration as a feed additive for dairy cattle. The FDA decision now allows livestock operations to administer the drug in order to increase production efficiency in dairy cows. According to Elanco Animal Health, manufacturer of Rumensin, the product is the only FDA-approved feed ingredient for lactating and dry cows that increases digestive efficiency.

The expansion in usage was permitted despite few published studies examining the effects of monensin in dairy cows. Among unpublished studies conclusions seem to be inclusive at best when researchers examined Rumenin’s ability to increase milk yields while decreasing dry matter intake. Further review of the studies done can be found in Alberta Dairy Management’s paper, Feeding Rumensin® to Lactating Cows.

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