Indications and Patterns of Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Danish Pig Production

by 5m Editor
3 August 2011, at 12:00am

Antimicrobial usage increased significantly between 2002 and 2008 in all classes of Danish pigs, and most were administered to treat gastrointestinal infections, especially in weaners, according to a recently published study.

V.F. Jensen and co-authors have published a study of the patterns of the therapeutic use of antimicrobial agents in the Danish pig production from 2002 to 2008 in a recent issue of Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Their study describes trends in the use and indications for prescriptions of antimicrobial agents in the Danish pig production in the period between 2002 and 2008 and is the first description of a complete prescription pattern for one animal species in an entire country.

Data on all prescription for pigs in Denmark were retrieved from the VetStat database. Antimicrobial use was measured in defined animal daily doses (ADD) for the specific age-group and in ADDkg as a measure of amounts used.

According to the results of the ADDkg data, 26 per cent of all antimicrobials were prescribed for sows, 38 per cent for weaner pigs, and 33 per cent for finisher pigs.

In weaner and finisher pigs, gastrointestinal infections accounted for 74 to 83 per cent and 56 to 65 per cent of the use in each age class, respectively, while respiratory infections accounted for nine to 17 per cent and 18 to 24 per cent, respectively. From 2002 to 2008, prescription for respiratory disease increased by 145 per cent for sows/piglets, by 141 per cent for weaner pigs, and by 81 per cent for finisher pig.

The most commonly used class of antibiotics was tetracycline for all age-groups, replacing the previously used macrolide/lincosamide group. The use of pleuromutilin increased in 2008 to the level of macrolides. In sows and piglets, the second most used class was penicillins. The switch in choice of antimicrobial classes prescribed seems to be related primarily to changes in the price of the drugs.


Jensen, V.F., Emborg, H-D. and Aarestrup, F.M. 2011. Indications and patterns of therapeutic use of antimicrobial agents in the Danish pig production from 2002 to 2008. J. vet. Pharmacol. Therap. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2885.2011.01291.x

Further Reading

- You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.

August 2011