Water medication has major advantages:
1. Works quickly
If it is decided to provide a group treatment to sick animals, water medication will reach the animals much quicker. It can take up to 2 days before medicated feed actually reaches the animals. In the meantime more animals can become ill or even die. Water medication can get to the animals almost immediately.
Sometimes powders are not mixed in the feed as a premix, but are spread on top of the feed in the feeder or feeding trough. This will allow to start treatment quickly but:
2. Overcomes the risk of cross contamination
Medicated feed can cross-contaminate non-medicated feed in the feed mill, transport truck or at the farm. The same is true for medication in liquid feed.
Filippitzi et al (2016) estimated that in Belgium 5.5% of the total feed produced could be contaminated with different levels of antimicrobials as a consequence of carry over.
Always ensure a proper diagnosis including sensitivity testing.
Benefit of water medication
In acute diseases treatment has to be started before the lab results are known. In case the antimicrobial needs to be changed, with water medication this will take only a few minutes. With feed medication it is not possible.