Influence of porcine circovirus type 2 vaccination on the level of antimicrobial consumption on 65 Austrian pig farms

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The administration of antibiotics to farm animals is an important contemporary topic. Veterinarians, pig producers, politicians, retailers and consumers all have a vested interest in reducing antimicrobial use on farm, while ensuring adequate health and welfare of food-producing animals. Vaccination programmes may be used to reduce the overall level of clinical disease in a population, subsequently leading to a decline in antimicrobial use. In 2008, a vaccination programme against porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2) was initiated in Austria. In the retrospective observational study presented here, farm medication records (2008–2011) from 65 conventional pig farms were evaluated. As PCV-2 has been shown to lead to generalised immunosuppression, enabling secondary bacterial infections to occur, the authors hypothesised that PCV-2 vaccination would decrease antimicrobial consumption at farm level. Firstly, we focused on the annual antimicrobial consumption expressed as the number of administered animal daily doses per kg liveweight (nADDkg/kg/year). Secondly, a linear mixed effects model was applied to evaluate the influence of PCV-2 vaccination on the antimicrobial consumption at farm level. The interaction between farm type and PCV-2 vaccination was found to be a highly significant factor (P=0.0002) influencing antimicrobial use at farm level. The estimated impact of PCV-2 vaccination revealed a highly significant (P<0.001) decline in total antimicrobial drug use from 1.72 ADDkg/kg/year to 0.56 ADDkg/kg/year on finishing farms, whereas only a negligible decline was detectable on farrow-to-finish farms.

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