Antibiotic reduction success in poultry to be adopted for pigs

Ten years after starting to focus on antibiotic reduction in poultry, a leading UK veterinary practice says that more than 40% of the medicines it uses to treat infections are no longer antibiotic-based.

“There will always be situations where we have to treat with antibiotics,” said St David’s veterinary team partner, Richard Turner, “but in this country there hasn’t been enough time spent looking at alternative approaches.”

Based in Exeter, with offices throughout the UK, the St David’s team applies an initiative which is focussed on improving the animals’ natural health through a combination of probiotics, organic acids and water sanitation. Now, having worked successfully with poultry, the team is set to expand the initiative into the pig sector, with a programme launch scheduled to take place at next month’s Pig & Poultry Fair.

“We have spent many years pulling together the latest research and industry best practice from around the world,” said Mr Turner (pictured above). “Working with the large integrators we have put this into place on a number of poultry farms, with considerable success, and are now rolling it out to the pig sector.”

Working through its Applied Bacterial Control (ABC) programme, the St David’s team looks closely at all husbandry factors, developing a bespoke strategy to boost natural gut health and reduce the need for routine antibiotic treatments.

“Central to ABC is clean water and the seed, weed and feed approach, developed by Professor Stephen Collett from the University of Georgia, USA,” said Mr Turner. “This involves seeding the gut with beneficial flora, feeding them by creating the right gut environment, and weeding out unfavourable microbes.

“Bacteria pass down from one generation to the next, so best results involve treating parent stock as well as youngsters on arrival at the farm.

“In the poultry sector, adopting such a proactive approach to bird health has helped our clients to significantly improve production efficiencies, and we are now looking forward to helping pig producers do the same.”

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