OBJECTIVES: To characterise antimicrobial use (AMU) per production stage in terms of drugs, routes of application, indications, duration and exposed animals in farrow-to-finish pig farms in Spain.
DESIGN: Survey using a questionnaire on AMU during the six months prior to the interview, administered in face-to-face interviews completed from April to October 2010.
PARTICIPANTS: 108 potentially eligible farms covering all the country were selected using a multistage sampling methodology; of these, 33 were excluded because they did not fulfil the participation criteria and 49 were surveyed.
RESULTS: The rank of the most used antimicrobials per farm and production stage and administration route started with polymyxins (colistin) by feed during the growing and the preweaning phases, followed by β-lactams by feed during the growing and the preweaning phases and by injection during the preweaning phase.
CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrates that the growing stage (from weaning to the start of finishing) has the highest AMU according to different quantitative indicators (number of records, number of antimicrobials used, percentage of farms reporting use, relative number of exposed animals per farm and duration of exposure); feed is the administration route that produces the highest antimicrobial exposure based on the higher number of exposed animals and the longer duration of treatment; and there are large differences in AMU among individual pig farms.
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