scott-deeBy: Dr. Scott Dee

I recently read an interesting article in the Journal of Swine Health and Production (May-June 2017) entitled “Antimicrobial susceptibility of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, Pasteurella multocida, Streptococcus suis and Bordetella bronchiseptica in the United States and Canada, 2011-2015”. The article was written by Michael Sweeney and others and featured teams from Zoetis and Microbial Research Inc.

Once I finished the title (and had a chance to catch my breath), the article proved to be very interesting reading. Basically, the team compared susceptibility data from 4 different bacteria across 10 different antimicrobials. Novel features of the article included:

  1. The study involved a total of 2940 bacterial isolates collected across 7 provinces in Canada and 35 US states over an extended period of time.
  2. All labs in the study used a consistent method of determining susceptibility.
  3. It focused on antimicrobial susceptibility versus antimicrobial resistance, which I found refreshing (for a change).
  4. Overall, the isolates surveyed indicated a high degree of susceptibility to the majority of the antibiotics tested and this is very good news.

Regarding the strengths of the study, this report demonstrated over a large sample size and period of time that many of the antibiotics we use to treat respiratory disease in pigs are still very effective.

Bottom line: This is a clear signal that the swine industry is practicing responsible use of antibiotics on farm, which is a very good thing to see.

However, as it pertained to limitations, some degree of antimicrobial resistance was observed with tetracyclines, indicating that we still have to be careful when managing this important medication. At Pipestone, we track use and resistance patterns of this important antimicrobial, as directed by PART. Furthermore, no data were available regarding intestinal pathogens. Finally, as the bacteria included in the study are not of food safety origin, the results cannot be extrapolated across pathogens related to human health.

Bottom line: We still have work to do.

In closing, I applaud the authors for this nice piece of work. It will clearly shows that the swine industry understands the meaning of “responsible use”.

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