sheep in field

A recent paper at the BCVA conference, which was reported in the Vet Times, shows that the reduction in use of highest priority clinically important antibiotics (HP-CIAs) in both cattle and sheep, may have been better than previously supposed. The reduction is likely to have exceeded the targets set by industry assurance initiatives, like Red Tractor, by a considerable margin. 

VetSalus consultants, who are working at the ‘clinical coalface’, are involved in making decisions that impact on antimicrobial usage on a daily basis, and we welcome this significant reduction in the usage of these important drugs.

It is also very pleasing to note that the reduced usage of HP-CIAs has not led to a concurrent rise in the use of other antibiotics. One of the frequently mentioned problems with the monitoring of AMU, using metrics like mg/PCU (Population Corrected Unit), is the potential for reduced use of HP-CIAs to result in the increased prescribing of higher dose substitutes, which could actually increase the chosen metric despite the fact that significant progress has been made.

VetSalus recognises that the way forward is to use less antibiotics in total, by improving management and nutrition and reducing stress on animals used in food production. It is pleasing to see that this philosophy is being reflected by actual results from British farms.