Antibiotics: Practice and opinions of Cambodian commercial farmers, animal feed retailers and veterinarians

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? 2016 The Author(s).Background: Cambodia has reported multidrug resistant bacteria in poultry, similar to other countries in the region. We visited commercial food animal farms to explore opinions and antibiotic practices on the farms. Methods: We used individual in-depth qualitative interviews with 16 commercial farmers, four feed retailers and nine veterinarians from food animal industry and government offices from the southwestern region of Phnom Penh. Transcribed interviews were thematically analysed. Results: Widespread antibiotic use occurred on all farms and was driven by four facilitators: belief that antibiotics were necessary for animal raising, limited knowledge, unrestricted antibiotic access, and weak monitoring and control systems. "If we treat ducks for two days and they aren't cured we change to human drugs. We cocktail 10 tablets of this, 10 tablets of that and 20 tablets of this one. Altogether 200 tablets are mixed in 100 or 200 L of water for the ducks to drink. No one taught me, just my experiences." Antibiotics were believed to be necessary for disease prevention. "On the first day when we bring in the chicks, we let them drink Enro [enrofloxacin] and vitamins to make them resist to the weather. We place them in the house and there are some bacteria in the environment. When they are newly arrived, we have to give them feed. So we're afraid they get diarrhea when they eat feed, we have to use Enro." All farmers used pre-mixed feed that veterinarians and feed retailers acknowledged contained antibiotics but not all listed the antibiotics. Farmers viewed pre-mixed feed as a necessary 'feed supplement' for growth promotion. "....The fatten supplement is mixed in feed. Pigs aren't growing well unless I use the supplement." Farmers and veterinarians were concerned that 'antibiotic residuals' in animal meat could harm human health. But they did not link this with antibiotic resistance. Conclusions: Antibiotic use in food animals was widespread and uncontrolled. Farmers focused on the benefits of food animal production rather than concerns about the consequences of antibiotic use. Therefore, education for prudent use of antibiotics in food animals and regulations are urgently needed in food animal farming in Cambodia.




Om, C., & McLaws, M. L. (2016). Antibiotics: Practice and opinions of Cambodian commercial farmers, animal feed retailers and veterinarians. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, 5(1).

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