Duration of Antibiotic Use Should be Left to Discretion of Veterinarian

US - The National Pork Producers Council says the duration antibiotics are prescribed to prevent or treat animal disease should be left in the hands of the veterinarian, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 27 June 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

On 1 January, the US Food and Drug Administration's guidance 213, which restricts the use of medically important antibiotics in human medicine to disease treatment, control and prevention in veterinary medicine and mandates veterinary oversight took effect.

Dr Liz Wagstrom, the Chief Veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council, says we need to ask, what can we do to keep our pigs healthy so that they don't need antibiotics.

Dr Liz Wagstrom-National Pork Producers Council

Obviously we've learned a lot a out biosecurity with PED.

We continue to have manufacturers get into the vaccine business and look at updating vaccine technology.

There are alternatives, whether they're direct fed microbials or things to promote gut health.

Industries are looking at what can we do to keep our animals healthy and they may not be one on one replacements for antibiotics but, as part of the big picture, we're looking at everything we can do to keep those animals healthy to avoid that need to use antibiotics.

Regulatory wise, from our United States Food and Drug Administration, the next thing they're looking at is duration of use.

When you look at some preventive uses of antibiotics or even treatment uses, is there a hard and fast limit that they should set on how many days an antibiotic should be able to used.

We have some concerns over that.

In some cases, let's say an animal has been exposed to Ileitis in the barn, they're going to continue to be exposed their entire growing period so saying you can only use an antibiotic for a certain number of days rather than throughout the time they're exposed to the disease could be counter productive to both animal health as well as food safety.

Dr Wagstrom says, now that veterinarians have more input and authority than in the past, allowing them to make the decisions on duration of use is going to be very important.

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