Monitoring antibiotic usage in German dairy and beef cattle farms : a longitudinal analysis
It is well-established that antimicrobial use is a major factor for the development of antimicrobial resistance. To analyze the associations between antimicrobial resistance and usage of antimicrobial agents, data from monitoring and surveillance systems are crucial. Within the project VetCAb (Veterinary Consumption of Antibiotics), antibiotic usage data in German livestock is regularly collected and evaluated. Based on a cross-sectional study in 2011, the project was continued as the longitudinal study VetCAb-Sentinel with ongoing participant recruitment and data collection from 2013. The data collection is based on official German application and delivery forms (ADF), voluntarily provided by veterinarians and farmers. In this study the results of antibiotic usage data of dairy cows, dairy calves and beef cattle were described, using a semi-annual treatment frequency, and 95,944 ADF issued between 2011 and 2015 were analyzed. Results show that the median of the treatment frequency in dairy calf and beef cattle holdings slightly decreased from 0.4 to 0.3 and from 0.2 to 0 days, respectively, whereas the median in dairy cow holdings ranged between 1.9 and 2.3 during the observed period. Temporal changes and the effect of the factors "farm size" and "region" on the treatment frequency were investigated, using multiple linear mixed and logistic regression models. Generally, the factor "time" has a statistically significant impact on the treatment frequency in all production types. In addition, a temporal trend test over the first six half-years shows that an increasing linear trend can be stated in dairy cows and dairy calves (p = 0.017; p = 0.004, respectively). If the time-period is extended to all eight half-years under study, this turns into a quadratic effect (dairy cows: p = 0.006; dairy calves: p < 0.001). In dairy calves and beef cattle the factor "farm size" also has a statistically significant impact. The factor "region," in contrast, shows no statistically significant impact at all. Compared to other livestock populations in Germany, the use of antimicrobials in dairy cows, dairy calves, and beef cattle appears to be low, but varies across several associated factors. Considering these effects, it is recommended that the size of dairy calf and beef cattle holdings is regularly considered in the evaluation of antimicrobial usage data over time.
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