Water medication has major advantages:
1. Works quickly
If you decide to provide group treatment to sick animals, water medication will reach the animals much more quickly. It can take up to 2 days before medicated feed actually reaches the animals. In the meantime, more animals may fall ill or even die. Water medication is able to get to the animals almost immediately.
Sometimes powders are not mixed into the feed as a premix, but are spread on top of the feed in the feeder or feeding trough instead. This allows for fast treatment, but:
2. Overcomes the risk of cross-contamination
Medicated feed can cross-contaminate non-medicated feed in the feed mill, during transport or at the farm. The same is true for medication in liquid feed.
Filippitzi et al. (2016) estimated that 5.5% of the total feed produced in Belgium could be contaminated with varying levels of antimicrobials as a result of carry-over.
Always make sure a proper diagnosis is made including sensitivity testing.
Benefit of water medication
In acute diseases, treatment has to begin before the lab results are in. If a change of antimicrobial is required, this will only take a few minutes with water medication. With feed medication, it is not possible at all.