The use of antimicrobials, or antibiotics as they are more commonly known, in farming is getting increasing amounts of government and main stream media attention. This is because certain drug classes that we use within farm animal production are also used in human medicine.
Over use and/or inappropriate use of antibiotics encourages the development of resistance in bacteria. Governments are concerned that if this occurs in the drug groups used in human medicine, termed the critically important antibiotics: macrolides (Draxxin, Zactran, Tylan), 3rd and 4th generation cephalosporins (Naxcel, Cevaxel-RTU, Pathocef) and fluoroquinolones (Marbox), super bugs with multiple drug resistant profiles will be created meaning human infections are harder to treat.
Towcester Farm Vets are keen to start a discussion about antibiotic use before more stringent guidelines are placed on us from above. We are therefore looking at the quantity of antimicrobials you are using on farm, with particular attention to the quantity used within the critical category. We aren’t going to say that these drugs cannot be used but we might ask a few additional questions before we authorise your drugs, please be patient while this occurs. We may be able to offer you an alternative product that is in a different category which will still treat your animals but creates less pressure on developing resistance. This will never be done at a compromise to animal welfare and we will explain why it was chosen as the alternative.
In the coming year, we are also going to total up your antimicrobial sales data and provide an overview of what has been used in the last 24 months. This handout will be made available to you at your whole herd TB test or annual Flock Health Check so you have a vet on hand to talk you through what we are looking at. We hope that these will encourage a discussion about where high volumes of antibiotics may be reduced (eg. pneumonia, silage eye or a lameness outbreak) and whether there is any advice we can offer to help you put in place management systems which reduce the risk of disease, which therefore reduces antimicrobial usage.
If you wish to see your data earlier than this, please contact the office. In the meantime, if you have any questions Els will be happy to talk to you and answer any questions you may have, just call the office on 01327 35029.