On December 6, 2018, the first large-scale scientifically validated trial to better understand the importance of responsible antibiotic use in clinically sick pigs was published in PLOS ONE, the Public Library of Science. This journal is #1-2 in the world as it pertains to publication of medical science.
The trial sought to compare pigs raised according to one of three antibiotic protocols:
1. TI: Population treatment. All pigs received treatment on days 4 and 21 and therapeutically thereafter as group medication in water and feed or by individual injection.
2. T2: Modified population treatment. Identical to group T1 but with mass treatment only on day 4 and without subsequent therapeutic feed medication. There was a total of 675 pigs in this group.
3. T3: Antibiotic-free (ABF) regimen. There was 702 pigs in this group.
All pigs were vaccinated with a modified-live porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) vaccine 3 days after weaning. Using a seeder pig model to mimic real world infection scenarios, pigs were contact-challenged with a very potent PRRS virus.
Less pigs died in the groups that received antibiotic treatment when sick (T1 and T2 groups 20.94% and 24.89%, respectively versus the Antibiotic Free group 57.98%.) At finishing, average daily gain (ADG) and mean feed conversion ratio (FCR) were significantly better (p < 0.05) for TI and T2 groups compared to the “Antibiotic-Free” group, meaning more pigs gained properly with the feed they were fed because they felt better.
Under the conditions of this study, these results indicate that when infected with PRRS virus and exposed to other bacterial co-infections, an pigs NOT given antibiotics are at a considerable higher mortality risk and that judicious use can significantly improve animal health and well-being.
As veterinarians, Pipestone is proud to deliver science-based justification for the responsible use of antibiotics when treating sick livestock populations, to help our team make the best recommendations to help sick animals as possible. Please discuss with your veterinarian and/or contact me directly. Thanks for your support of PART.
Scott Dee, DVM MS PhD Dipl;ACVM
To view the entire publication, click here.