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Vaccines Offer Potential to Reduce Antibiotic Use on Pig Farms

9 November 2016, at 12:00am

CANADA - A Professor with the University of Saskatchewan says vaccines have an important role to play in helping reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock production, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Antimicrobial resistance and drug use in animal agriculture are increasingly on the public's radar.

"The Use of Vaccines and Our Social License to Produce Pork" will be among the topics discussed as part of the 2016 Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium November 15 and 16 in Saskatoon.

Dr John Harding, a Professor and Graduate Chair of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan, observes vaccines hold the potential to both improve animal welfare and help reduce antibiotic use.

Dr John Harding-University of Saskatchewan:

Vaccines have been exceptionally valuable.

Speaking specifically about the swine industry, a good example of one is Porcine Circovirus Type 2 but other respiratory diseases as well such as Mycoplasma, so many successful vaccines.

There's also some vaccines that have also been a good part of the toolbox, maybe haven't been 100 percent effective but we still use them quite dramatically.

Haemophilus parasuis vaccine is an example, PRRS vaccine to some degree.

It does work for similar strains of virus but it doesn't necessarily work as well for different strains of virus.

Then there are some other diseases where we desperately need vaccines and they are lacking.

A good example there, Strep suis is probably the first one that pops to my mind.

I think there's a direct link between vaccine usage and antibiotic usage, essentially it's inverse.

It means the more vaccines one uses, the likelihood is that fewer drugs will be used either on a mass preventative basis or injection of individual pigs.

Dr Harding says vaccines have a role to play in helping reduce antibiotic use but they're nor a silver bullet.

He says there's a lot producers can do in setting up good production systems and having good on farm management that will also help control diseases.

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