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Anti-microbial Stewardship- Education Over Domination

Anti-microbial Stewardship- Education Over Domination

Antimicrobial resistance poses a major threat to human health around the world. In the United States there are more than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result.

Although antimicrobial-resistant bacteria affecting human health have risen mostly due to the use of antimicrobials in human medicine, antibiotic use in livestock is still known to contribute. Worldwide, an estimated 73 percent of antibiotics important to human medicine are sold to be used in livestock production. We have the opportunity in the agriculture industry to be a leader in curbing the rise of antimicrobial resistance by improving management programs and by turning to effective alternative therapies.

Should we limit antimicrobial use?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that one step to limiting antimicrobial resistance is to limit antibiotic use.  This means only using antibiotics when absolutely necessary. The move by the FDA in June 2023 to move all medically important antibiotics for animal use to require a prescription from a licensed veterinarian is an attempt to limit use.

While this type of thought process is all well and good there are a few flaws that have been brought to my attention as I have interacted with livestock producers across the nation.

  1. Even though medically important antibiotics are required to be prescribed by a veterinarian this does not guarantee that the producer will use the antibiotic as it is intended.
  2. For livestock owners without a Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR) this makes it very hard to get medicine to treat their animals and may lead to some finding creative ways to get an antibiotic without going through a veterinarian.
  3. Limiting the amount of antibiotics sounds good on the frontside, but on the backside does this mean that some animals that need treatment will get passed over?

Education Over Domination

As an industry I think it is important that we take the bull by the horns and instead of letting others dictate how and when we can use antimicrobials, let’s own up to our stewardship and do our part to responsibly use antibiotics.

Accomplishing this will mean that producers, veterinarians, nutritionists, and other industry consultants will have to work together to use the latest research, technologies, and information to establish on farm protocols that are effective in improving animal health and reduce the need to treat with an antibiotic.

When antibiotics are needed, they should be used as directed by a licensed veterinarian. Additionally, proper training needs to be given to the employee using the antibiotic.

Effective Practices

New technologies are getting better than ever to help use diagnosis and prevent disease. Here are a few useful technologies that I believe will help in our quest to improve animal health and welfare and reduce disease incidence.

  1. Lung ultrasound: using an ultrasound to visualize the lung field allows for early detection of lung consolidation or damaged lung tissue.
  2. Pedometers/Collars/Ear Tags: may help to monitor rumination, behavioral changes, and eating patterns to help identify changes that may indicate illness.
  3. D2Dx Immunity test: identify animals with low immune protection.
  4. Feeding strategies: support the microbiome, strengthen the gut epithelium, and modulate immune function.
  5. Biosensors: used for rapid disease diagnosis based on detection of redox reactions that are unique for each pathogen and antibody.

At MicroBasics we believe the producer should have natural options to antimicrobial therapy.  This involves management and feeding programs to help prevent disease, and potent therapies to help the animal pull through an infection and recover to live a healthy and productive life.

Contact us for more information on how you can implement these types of programs on your farm.

 

Written by: Mariah Gull, M.S.

 

Sources:

Factors influencing dairy farmers' antibiotic use: An application of the COM-B model - Journal of Dairy Science

Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis - The Lancet

Updated Antibiotic Guidelines (ncba.org)

National Estimates for Antibiotic Resistance | CDC