Livestock producers have been urged to cut unnecessary antibiotic use to try to prevent resistant bacteria from developing in their herds and flocks. But on the farm, the question being asked is where and how?
Consider dairy calves, for example. More than half of calf deaths occur from diarrhea.Producers often treat this condition with antibiotics as soon as they detect it. They’re concerned delaying treatment could harm calf health and welfare.
But a University of Guelph research team says methodic management, in particular using oral electrolyte replacement and water when calves are dehydrated from diarrhea, can provide better results. They’ve found antimicrobials are required just a fraction of the time.
Ontario Veterinary College researchers have created a flow chart or algorithm to help guide producers’ decisions about treating diarrhea with antibiotics. They are one of the first research teams to investigate the effectiveness of protocols to reduce and refine antimicrobial treatment in pre-weaned calves.
“Use of the algorithm for treatment of diarrheic calves reduced antimicrobial treatment rates without a negative impact on their health,” says professor and lead researcher Scott Weese.
Read full article at DAIRY NEWS