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Quantification of antibiotic use on dairy farms in Pennsylvania

Redding, Laurel E., Bender, Joseph, Baker, Linda
Journal of dairy science 2019 v.102 no.2 pp. 1494-1507
animal health, antibiotic resistance, cephalosporins, dairy farming, farmers, farms, herd size, human health, mastitis, penicillins, surveys, therapeutics, Pennsylvania
Antibiotic use data are critical for drawing conclusions about the epidemiological connections between antibiotic use in farms animals, antibiotic resistance, animal health, and human health. The goal of this study was to quantitatively and qualitatively characterize antibiotic use on dairy farms in Pennsylvania, the state with second largest number of dairy farms nationally. A survey was sent to 10% of the 6,580 dairy farms registered in Pennsylvania and completed by 235 producers (response rate of 36%). Data on antibiotic use in the previous month and in the previous 6 mo were collected based on farmer self-report, using either recall or treatment records. Two metrics were used to quantify antibiotic consumption: animal-defined daily doses (ADD) and days of therapy (DOT), a metric used in human medicine for purposes of antimicrobial stewardship. Across all farms, 24,444 ADD and 19,029 DOT were reported, representing treatment incidences of 4.2 ADD/1,000 animal-days and 3.3 DOT/1,000 animal-days. These rates were generally lower than those found in other states and countries. The main indication for antibiotic use was mastitis, and first-generation cephalosporins were the most commonly used class of antibiotic for all indications, followed by penicillins and third-generation cephalosporins. Trends in use were similar for ADD and DOT, but the numbers of recorded DOT and associated treatment incidences were generally lower than the number of ADD and associated treatment incidences. Rates of treatment were significantly associated with herd size. This study is the first to quantify antibiotic use on dairy farms in Pennsylvania and the first to use the DOT metric in a dairy setting.