Study Highlights Effective Way To Reduce Antibiotic Use In Calves

A recent on farm study has shown how antibiotic use can be safely reduced in calves, boosting welfare and cutting costs without impacting productivity.

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The findings have demonstrated that use of a non-steroidal anti- inflammatory (NSAID) product at times of high stress can avoid the need to routinely turn to antimicrobials, which traditionally have often been a first line of defence against diseases including calf pneumonia, one of the biggest problems in calf rearing.

The NSAID used in the study was Solacyl from Dechra, which contains a type of aspirin. Led by vet Owen Atkinson, of the Dairy Veterinary Consultancy, the study took place on three farms rearing for Meadow Quality Ltd, across four cohorts of animals. The headline finding was that using Solacyl as a first line treatment, under the cascade, reduced antibiotic use by more than 40% without any significant impact on mortality rates.

As well as being administered for the early signs of pneumonia or other routine illness, Solacyl can be used to enhance welfare by covering the herd at other times of stress, such as disbudding.

By using analgesia, we may potentially be able to symptomatically support an animal through a disease process, ensuring they keep eating and drinking, which means that in some cases antimicrobials may not need to be used. There will always be cases when they may need to be used but this does provide an alternative that fits with the current drive to reduce use of antimicrobials.

Solacyl also benefits from being lower cost than antibiotic treatments, is easy to administer in milk, water or wet feed and can be stored for up to six months even once bags are opened. Speak to one of our vets for more information.

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