Campers learn about Antibiotic Residue

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This week’s #CloverU theme had me thinking about the antibiotic misconceptions in today’s food industry. Vet Science  Camp was conducted in Johnson, Iowa, and Washington Counties. Both farm and city kids participated in the day camp. #CloverU is open to everyone who has an interest in learning about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

41 campers studied the signs of stress and illness, what to do in situations of panic, and how to properly handle an animal. We began the camp by comparing the stomach of a human to a ruminant. Did you know cows have 4 chambers and that is why they can graze grass and humans can’t? (I am still in my teaching mode haha).

Looking at the difference between intramuscular and subcutaneous injecions; the kids gave blue food coloring shots to bananas.

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Matty fills his syringe with blue dye

After learning how to give injections to an animal; the campers looked at labels and discovered the importance of dosage, expirations, and uses. Lilly looked at her bottle and asked me, “what is a withdraw period?”

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I asked Lilly, “when you take medicine at home do you have to wait a few hours before the Tylenol is out of your system to take it again?” She of answered yes and asked it if was similar in animals. “Do the antibiotics leave their systems too?”

A withdraw period is the length of time the farmer has to wait after giving a medication to an animal before taking it to market. Animals have to be cleared of antibiotics before being butchered due to the risk it proposes to humans.

Records are an important part of this process as they are required by sale barns.

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The campers wanted to see how the medication leaves our systems over time so we did an experiment to demonstrate this principal. Katie is holding a test tube filled with sodium Hydroxide. I added a pH test solution to her tube which turned the liquid pink. The kids each took turns taking part of the solution from the person’s tube in front of them.

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The antibiotic residue leaves the body until it is completely out of the system. Our bodies use it up until we have utilized it all.

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After being a veterinarian in training; the kids were ready to play with real animals! We asked the 4-Hers to share with the campers how to care for the animals, signs of stress, and how to handle the rabbit properly.

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Stay tuned for more on #CloverU. Have a great weekend and remember to make your own decisions when it comes to our food system. Farmers care!


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