News 708 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Use estimates of in-feed antimicrobials in swine production in the US

Mike Apley, a clinical pharmacologist and professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University, has investigated these uses for swine as part of a team authoring the paper “Use Estimates of In-Feed Antimicrobials in Swine Production in the United States.” The paper was recently published in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease.

When considering the development of antimicrobial resistance in food animals, comparing gross use estimates of different antimicrobials is of little value due to differences in potencies, duration of activity, relative effect on target and commensal bacteria, and mechanisms of resistance.

However, it may be valuable to understand quantities of different antimicrobials used in different ages of swine and for what applications. Therefore, the objective of this project was to construct an estimate of antimicrobial use through the feed in swine production in the United States. Estimates were based on data from the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Swine 2006 Study and from a 2009 survey of swine-exclusive practitioners.

Inputs consisted of number of pigs in a production phase, feed intake per day, dose of the antimicrobial in the feed, and duration of administration. Calculations were performed for a total of 102 combinations of antimicrobials (n=17), production phases (n=2), and reasons for use (n=3).

Calculations were first conducted on farm-level data, and then extrapolated to the U.S. swine population. Among the nursery phase estimates, chlortetracycline had the largest estimate of use, followed by oxytetracycline and tilmicosin. In the grower/finisher phase, chlortetracycline also had the largest use estimate, followed by tylosin and oxytetracycline.

As an annual industry estimate for all phases, chlortetracycline had the highest estimated use at 533,973 kg. The second and third highest estimates were tylosin and oxytetracycline with estimated annual uses of 165,803 kg and 154,956 kg, respectively. The estimates presented here were constructed to accurately reflect available data related to production practices, and to provide an example of a scientific approach to estimating use of compounds in production animals.

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