This topic’s huge, and there’s always a risk of trying to oversimplify the problem or solutions.

However, some solutions for some issues might be fairly straightforward. Whether it’s on a farm, in a hospital or in a doctors office, there are situations where I think it’s widely accepted we don’t need to use antibiotics, yet for various reasons they still get used. Getting over those barriers sometimes requires a combination of medicine, behavioural science, communications, psychology, economics and a range of other fields. Sometimes, though, the answer seems fairly simple.

A paper published in The Veterinary Journal showed how use of a simple treatment algorithm designed to be used by farmers results in an 80% reduction in antibiotic use in diarrheic dairy calves, with no impact on calf health.

That’s just one condition in one species, but it shows that there are some “low hanging fruit” that we might be able to pick.

Reference: DE Gomez, LG Arroyo, Z Poljak, L Viel, JS Weese. Implementation of an algorithm for selection of antimicrobial therapy for diarrhoeic calves: impact on antimicrobial treatment rates, health and faecal microbiota.

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  1. I’ve been following the situation in the USA regarding antibiotics in food (including meat animals.) I am asplenic and am getting the CDC-recommended series of immunizations – so I am concerned about antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The agro industry isn’t really concerned about human health but about their bottom line.
    That said, I encourage all pet owners to recognize the possibility of animal-human transmission. I had my dog vaccinated for leptospirosis to protect her and ME. I informed my Vet earlier this year about Capnocytophaga and the danger it presents to pet owners (esp. dogs and cats) and esp. to asplenics and others who are immunocompromised. She’d never heard of Capno and she’s been practicing for over 10 years. I share your info with all the pet owners on my email list around the USA so please accept my thanks for your work. It is vital … I’ll vouch for that. From New York, New York.


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