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Strategies for the prudent use of antibiotics

by 5m Editor
27 June 2003, at 12:00am

By Australian Pork - Antibiotics are important for animal health, welfare, food safety and the environment. However, they need to be used judiciously to avoid the development of resistance in pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria of the pig. This document outlines practices and management regimes that can be used to reduce the risk of increasing antibiotic resistance in bacteria that infect pigs.

Introduction

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Australian pork producers have access to a wide range of antibiotics to treat and prevent disease, and enable the production of healthy pigs. At present the use of antibiotics to promote growth is still legal, however, Australian Pork Limited (APL) actively discourages this practice.

It is essential for producers to be aware of the issues relating to the development of antibiotic resistance in the bacterial flora of pigs treated with antibiotics and implement practices and strategies aimed at minimising this resistance.

Information about antibiotic use is provided by a range of people, including veterinarians, pharmaceutical company representatives, veterinary chemical resellers, feed millers, other producers, and accredited “Chemsmart” trainers. This can lead to confusion as to what is the best strategy to implement and in some cases may result in the over-use of antibiotics.

This document from Australian Pork Ltd. is split down into a number of seperate PDF files, the titles (and links) of which are detailed below. Documents open in a new browser window.

Key message for producers

In all situations you should attempt to obtain an accurate diagnosis of the disease in the pigs. Where and when feasible, the services of a veterinarian or a diagnostic laboratory should be engaged.

The use of antibiotics should be kept to a minimum and instructions regarding their use followed carefully, particularly if the drugs prescribed by a veterinarian are to be used in an “off-label” context.

(Off-label use of an antibiotic involves use in a species for which there is no registration, or at a dose other than that approved and/or by a route that is not approved, or a combination of all three possibilities.)

Contents

Background (PDF 139k)
Consumers driving change
Coordinated approach essential

Roles and responsibilities (PDF 454k)
Producers
Veterinarians

Strategies and practices (PDF 433k)
Establish a herd health plan
Maintain good general practices
Establish sound management practices to control disease spread
Introduce practices to reduce antibiotic use
Alternatives to antibiotics

Useful information (PDF 875k)
Monitoring and residue testing
Handling agricultural and veterinary chemicals
Glossary of terms
Further reading

Important information (PDF 198k)
A Table of withholding periods for antibiotics and parasiticides

Source: Australian Pork Ltd. - May 2003