This section focuses on tools and strategies for prudent antibiotic use at the farm level. It is intended to support efforts assisting farmers to improve antibiotic use practices.
Efforts to reduce antibiotic use in food-producing animals can be at different levels; from restricting or minimizing use for certain indications (such as growth promotion or prophylactic use) to removal of the use of most or even all antibiotics.
Efforts may also be focused on making sure use is as appropriate as possible, through introducing diagnostic methods and guidelines or through education. Improving infection prevention, introducing or improving record keeping of antibiotic use, and taking cultures and performing sensitivity testing prior to antibiotic use are some examples of possible areas to work in.
Close link to infection prevention
Improved animal health is often the base needed to be able to optimize antibiotic use. This includes good hygiene, good nutrition, biosecurity, use of vaccines and to optimize housing conditions. The level of animal health is a result of the management of a wide range of factors, which can be grouped as animal specific, husbandry system-dependent and management-dependent. The EPRUMA best practice framework for the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals provides building blocks that can help a farmer to develop a farm-specific health plan. For more information, see PREVENT INFECTION – Food animals.
Animals still get sick even with high level of animal husbandry practices. When antibiotic treatment is indicated, it should ideally be used as targeted treatment based on clinical diagnosis and, whenever possible, on the results of microbiological susceptibility tests, and using an antibiotic agent of as narrow-spectrum as possible. Several guidelines on prudent antibiotic use have been published by different stakeholders.
Questions to ask before initiating an antibiotic treatment to ensure that the treatment is justified:
- Does the disease need antibacterial treatment or are there other options besides antibacterial treatment?
- Will the potential risk of inducing resistance outweigh the benefit of treatment?
- Will the antibiotic treatment work against the causative pathogen?
- Will the antibiotic treatment pose risks to public health?
Components to consider when working to achieve appropriate use of antibiotics in food animal production:
- Application of measures to improve animal health
- Record keeping of all antibiotic use that includes (if applicable): name of antibiotic, date of treatment, animal treated, dose, length of treatment, indication (diagnosis), route of administration, name of prescriber/source of antibiotic, withdrawal time and name of person giving the treatment.
- Regular analysis of antibiotic use records to identify
- Non-therapeutic use such as use as growth promoter and routine use to prevent or control diseases during certain risk-periods (for example weaning of piglets)
- Use of critically important antibiotics and under which indication
- Animal health problems that need to be addressed
- Could antibiotic use have been avoided?
- Implementation of corrective actions to counteract
- Inappropriate antibiotic use
- Animal health problems
It can be difficult to decide on which strategies will work best. Important questions to consider are:
- Is there evidence to support the use of the strategy?
- Has the strategy been used in a similar context?
- How might the strategy need adaptation to this setting?
- Are sufficient resources available?
- Is approval required for implementation?
- What type of training will be needed?
- What issues does this strategy uniquely address?
- How will this strategy help overcome identified barriers?
Resources below have been separated into the following tables:
Educational resources can be found in RAISE AWARENESS – Education and training – Manuals and courses.
In MEASURE, you can access tools and resources to conduct studies on a variety of topics that relates to rational use, and to help determine the impact of interventions. Includes specific information for animal settings.
|Restricting the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals and its associations with antibiotic resistance in food-producing animals and human beings: a systematic review and meta-analysis||Systematic review on the effect of interventions restricting antibiotic use in food animal production. Provides evidence that restricting use lowers the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the animals. The appendix lists all studies (2MB) included in the review and provides a quality assessment.|
|Keeping veterinary medicine records||Template and instructions on how to keep veterinary medicine records. Includes an example format on record keeping (word document). Guidance for England, but can be used for inspiration/adapted for other contexts.|
|Guidelines for the use of antibiotics in production animals (PDF 1,1 MB)||Example guideline. An example of a guideline for antibiotic use in production animals (cattle, pigs, sheep and goats). This one is developed by the Swedish Veterinary Association. Describes common diseases, diagnostics and treatment.
|Why We Should Reduce Antibiotic Usage and Ways to Do It||Review: A thorough review presented at the London Swine Conference 2013, including evidence of a whole range of interventions that could be used by pig producers to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance in human and porcine pathogens.|
|FAO case study series: Tackling antimicrobial use and resistance in pig production||Country examples describing work towards more prudent use of antibiotics in food animals. The first case study describes the Danish campaign to reduce antibiotic use in pig production. Includes monitoring of antibiotic use, initiatives made and lessons learned. Available in English, Spanish and Chinese.
|Guide to Prudent Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Dairy Production||Guide intended to promote prudent use practices based on evidence, and taking into account parameters which are relevant and essential to dairy farming. Also available in French and Spanish.|
|Improving biosecurity through prudent and responsible use of veterinary medicines in aquatic food production||Guideline from FAO that discusses the use of veterinary medicines in aquaculture and gives examples of good practice and disease prevention measures.|
More from "Food animals"
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