Advances Allow More Prudent Antibiotic Use

CANADA - A Saskatchewan-based veterinary consultant says advanced diagnostics, vaccination and an increased focus on biosecurity and sanitation have allowed the pork industry to reserve the use of antibiotics for when they are most needed, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 14 November 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

Since the 1960s, as public interest in food and food production has grown, so has the level of interest in the use of antibiotics in livestock production.

The topic "Antibiotic Stewardship, Balancing Public Perceptions, Regulations and Risk in Antibiotic Use Decisions" will be discussed as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2013 next week in Saskatoon.

Dr Leigh Rosengren, with Rosengren Epidemiology Consulting, observes because only two percent of Canadians live on farms most people are very removed from how animals are raised and how animals are cared for.

Dr Leigh Rosengren-Rosengren Epidemiology Consulting

Antibiotics are a very important tool used in the swine industry for managing pig health and welfare.
We have access to antibiotics that ensure we're raising healthy pigs and we know that healthy pigs translate into healthy food.

The role of antibiotics certainly has changed in veterinary medicine.

As our diagnostics have become more specific we're more able to target the drugs, the doses and the durations that we use to optimize our chance of keeping that herd healthy so the way we use antibiotics now is much more precise than it used to be in the past.

But the other way that use has changed is that producers now think first about things like biosecurity, sanitation and vaccination when they're managing health and they reserve antibiotic use for when it's most necessary.

Dr Rosengren says the public is unaware that the livestock industry is taking this issue seriously and media rarely reports on the fact that all of our major commodities have on farm food safety programs, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has prudent use guidelines or that very few antibiotics are ever used for things like growth promotion but are used in very strategic ways to control disease.

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