Alternatives to antibiotics offer opportunities

A veterinarian with South West Ontario Veterinary Services says, as livestock producers move to reduce their use of antibiotics, they will be looking to a range of alternative methods for preventing and treating bacterial infections.
calendar icon 28 February 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

To address public concerns over antibiotic resistance the Government of Canada is tightening regulations governing antibiotics use in livestock production.

"Medications-The changing rules" will be among the topics discussed during the London Swine Conference March 27 and 28.

Dr Greg Wideman, a veterinarian and partner with South West Ontario Veterinary Services, says alternatives to antibiotics is an exciting area to be paying attention to:

Health Canada has opened up the channel through which veterinary health products other than antimicrobials can be registered in Canada and that's going to make it easier for producers to access some of the alternatives that up till now have not been available because registration of those products has been too cumbersome.

So we might see some valuable tools and we could lump them under categories like nutraceuticals or natural health products, essential oils and plant extracts that are proven to have some benefit for their antibiotic or antimicrobial properties.

Those things are going to be coming along and we're going to have good opportunities to test them.

Then, of course, the alternative that is most tried and true and will continue to play a really valuable role in many farms is the use of vaccines.

For example, within our own practice, we are really taking a good look globally at vaccine technology that targets bacterial species to try an offer our producers as many tools as we can control bacterial infections without the use of antibiotics.

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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