EUROPEAN Antibiotic Awareness week runs from November 16 to November 22 and I am sure you have all seen the media stories, regarding the threat of antibiotic resistance; many of them blaming the use of antibiotics in livestock for the problem.
Whatever the relative risk from human and animal use, all sectors need to be tackling this problem since there is no doubt that the number of antibiotic resistant bacteria are increasing, and if this continues we are heading for a situation where routine operations; such as hip replacements are impossible because of the risk of infection.
For a livestock farmer this also means a situation where we can't treat mastitis, pneumonia or any other bacterial infection because the antibiotics no longer work.
Every time an antibiotic is used we are selecting for resistant bacteria, but there are some practices that make this much worse i.e. under dosing for an animals weight, not giving a long enough course or using the wrong antibiotic for the infection you are treating.
In addition, there are some antibiotics that have become critically important in human medicine, they are the last line of treatment for resistant infections. To preserve these for human use we need to avoid their use in livestock.
There are very few new antibiotics in the development pipeline, which is why it is important we use our existing antibiotics wisely and make sure these life-saving medicines continue to stay effective for us, our children and grandchildren.
But what exactly can you as dairy farmers do? And how good or bad is your use currently?
Rachel and Ruth will be holding a meeting at St Boniface Vets in Exeter Road on November 24, at 7pm which will benchmark antibiotic spend; including use of critically important antibiotics across those in the dairy sector. Click the link for more details - Antibiotic Meeting.
Go along and find out how you are doing. Please call 01363 772860 to confirm your interest.
How about signing up to be an Antibiotic Guardian?
Antibiotic Guardian is a UK-wide campaign which aims to improve behaviours around antibiotic use.
The campaign, calls on everyone in the UK to become Antibiotic Guardians by choosing one simple pledge about how they will make better use of these vital medicines.
What one thing can you change to make a difference? View more details at: www.antibioticguardian.com
If you would like to discuss your antibiotic use prior to the meeting, please call and speak to a member of St Boniface Vets farm team.
In the meantime, look out for further meetings that the vets will be running for beef and sheep farmers over the next couple of months.