Pig-keepers should review their use of antibiotics at least every quarter, new guidance from the Pig Health and Welfare Council (PHWC) Antimicrobial Sub-group and the Pig Veterinary Society (PVS) has advised.
The guidance paper has been published to help pig producers cut their use of antimicrobials.
It advises that the review should include a clinical inspection of the herd; analysis of production and mortality data; and a review of abattoir records, as well as both treatment records and laboratory results. Further investigations must be conducted when the clinical inspection has highlighted any problems such as increased mortality.
Sub-group chairman John FitzGerald said: “The PHWC supports the responsible use of antibiotics. This means minimising the need to use antibiotics by managing the farm to reduce the risk of disease challenge and using them properly to maintain animal health and welfare.
“We are delighted to launch this guidance, which will help vets and farmers to review their antibiotic use regularly and to consider ways in which this could be optimised without harming the pigs.”
PVS representative on the Sub-group Grace Webster said “We acknowledge that many vets and farmers are already applying these best-practice guidelines in their review of antibiotic usage. This is an integral part of their ongoing efforts to use antibiotics ‘as little as possible and as much as necessary’ to safeguard the health and welfare of the pigs under their care and encourage all of our members to consider whether they can improve their current approach.”
The guidance is available here.