Antibiotic use on german pig farms - a longitudinal analysis for 2011, 2013 and 2014

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© 2018 Hemme et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. To study antibiotic use in livestock in a temporal context with the development of antimicrobial resistance, long-term changes in antibiotic use must be mapped and their possible causes must be explored. Therefore, the present work assesses the changes in antibiotic use over time in German livestock husbandry. In addition, factors associated with antibiotic use were analyzed to identify possible strategies for further reducing antimicrobial usage. For 2011, 2013 and 2014, antibiotic usage data were collected and examined within the VetCAb project. Three hundred participating pig holdings provided information on their antibiotic use based on obligatory application and delivery forms (ADFs) filled in by their veterinarian as well as information on their current stabling capacities for each production type held. Data on sow, piglet, weaner and fattening pig holdings were described separately, using the semi-annual treatment frequency (TF) to measure antibiotic consumption. Multiple linear mixed models were used to investigate the effects of time, farm size, region and farm management category on the treatment frequency. The study yielded significant time changes with p-values below 0.001 in antibiotic administration with a decreasing median TF in piglets from 3.8 in the first half of 2011 (IQR = 1.1–10.6) to 1.7 in the second half of 2014 (IQR = 0.2–4.5) and in fattening pigs from 5.1 in the first half of 2011 (IQR = 0.2–15.4) to 0.7 in the second half of 2014 (IQR = 0.1–6.7). Meanwhile the TF fluctuated between 8.2 and 12.2 in weaners during the observational period (IQRs between zero (lower quartile) and 37.9 (upper quartile)). Piglet, weaner and fattening pig holdings belonging to the upper third of the holdings in size used significantly more antibiotics than the other holdings investigated. Particularly for weaner and fattening pig holdings, a higher TF was noted for farms without breeding units. The region was only a significant factor in weaners. In conclusion, for 2011, 2013 and 2014, the present study shows a clear reduction in antibiotic treatment frequency in German pig holdings. In addition, the association with various factors such as herd size and farm organization on the antibiotic usage frequency is indisputable. Therefore, these factors should be included in monitoring systems and considered when evaluating intervention measures.




Hemme, M., Ruddat, I., Hartmann, M., Werner, N., van Rennings, L., Käsbohrer, A., & Kreienbrock, L. (2018, July 1). Antibiotic use on german pig farms - a longitudinal analysis for 2011, 2013 and 2014. PLoS ONE. Public Library of Science.

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