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Storage of Livestock Medicines

Last Updated: March 11, 2013

Storage of medicines:

  • Establish a designated area for storage of all drugs and keep a record.
  • Use an operating refrigerator (locked or in a secure area)
    or a clean, dust-free, dry, cool, dark cabinet (in a secure area)
  • Check product label for instructions on storage
  • Consider light (amber bottle means light sensitive)
  • Prevent exposure to extremes of temperature or humidity
  • Always store opened containers according to label instructions
  • Use transfer needles to download from larger container
  • Don't use the same needle to inject an animal and then withdraw more drug from its container
  • Use caution when cleaning bottle tops (i.e., alcohol can cause problems with antibiotics and modified live vaccines)
  • Don't store bottles with needle in rubber stopper
  • Ensure that expiry dates are recorded. Remember, the expiry date refers to shelf life prior to opening product
  • Discard all expired product
  • Check the shelf life of reconstituted products (vaccines for example)
  • Record the date the product was opened (preferably on product)

Purchasing Suggestions:

  • Check expiry date and method of storage before purchasing
  • Purchase products recommended by your veterinarian
  • Purchase only enough product that can be used in reasonable period of time
  • Choose a package size to suit your needs
  • Transport medicines under same conditions required for storage (check label)

The benefits of a good storage system:

  • Protects potency and shelf-life of medicines
  • Reduces the risk of accidents
  • Minimizes drug waste
  • Promotes proper use
  • Allows for effective inventory control by:
    - Checking for expired product
    - Discarding unlabeled product
    - Discarding products no longer used
  • Helps with selection and drug purchasing decisions

Storage tips:

  • Purchase limited quantities
  • Check expiry dates before purchase
  • Use products with earliest expiry dates first
  • Clean and reorganize cabinet regularly
  • Discard all expired product
  • Review inventory with your veterinarian (be sure you know how to use the products you have in inventory - follow protocols provided by your veterinarian)


Download a summary chart for medicines (7 KB PDF - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)


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