Animal production

Principles of antibiotic therapy in animal production

In order to reduce the use of antibiotics and their appropriate use in livestock health care, the following principles should be followed1:

  • the prescription and use of antimicrobials is only justified following a veterinary diagnosis;
  • metaphylactic use of antibiotics is only possible based on clinical findings regarding the development of the disease in the herd;
  • routine prophylaxis should be avoided;
  • If possible, avoid administering the drug to the entire herd and focus on treating the animal individually, isolated from the herd;
  • targeted treatment is recommended in antibiotic therapy, based on the antibiogram;
  • antimicrobial agents prone to spreading transmitted resistance should be avoided;
  • antibiotic treatment should be carried out under close medical supervision and be subject to regular evaluation of the need for treatment in order to avoid unnecessary use of medication;
  • Alternative methods of animal prophylaxis and treatment proven to be effective and safe should be considered where possible.

The Polish Sustainable Beef Platform is drawing the attention of domestic meat producers to the guidelines it has developed for reducing the use of critical (a.k.a. highest-priority) antibiotics. By 2023, Polish cattle producers should reduce their use by at least 50%. This also applies to producers from other countries. In order to realise this, the amount and type of antibiotics administered should be controlled, taking into account their group membership.

1. Dziennik Urzędowy Unii Europejskiej, 11.09.2015 r., C200/11