Quantitative analysis of antimicrobial use on British dairy farms

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Abstract

Antimicrobial resistance has been reported to represent a growing threat to both human and animal health, and concerns have been raised around levels of antimicrobial usage (AMU) within the livestock industry. To provide a benchmark for dairy cattle AMU and identify factors associated with high AMU, data from a convenience sample of 358 dairy farms were analysed using both mass-based and dose-based metrics following standard methodologies proposed by the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption project. Metrics calculated were mass (mg) of antimicrobial active ingredient per population correction unit (mg/PCU), defined daily doses (DDDvet) and defined course doses (DCDvet). AMU on dairy farms ranged from 0.36 to 97.79 mg/PCU, with a median and mean of 15.97 and 20.62 mg/PCU, respectively. Dose-based analysis ranged from 0.05 to 20.29 DDDvet, with a median and mean of 4.03 and 4.60 DDDvet, respectively. Multivariable analysis highlighted that usage of antibiotics via oral and footbath routes increased the odds of a farm being in the top quartile (>27.9 mg/PCU) of antimicrobial users. While dairy cattle farm AMU appeared to be lower than UK livestock average, there were a selection of outlying farms with extremely high AMU, with the top 25 per cent of farms contributing greater than 50 per cent of AMU by mass. Identification of these high use farms may enable targeted AMU reduction strategies and facilitate a significant reduction in overall dairy cattle AMU.

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