Survey on Antimicrobial Drug Use Practices in California Preweaned Dairy Calves

Okello, E., D. R. Williams, W. R. ElAshmawy, J. Adams, R. V. Pereira, T. W. Lehenbauer, and S. S. Aly, "Survey on Antimicrobial Drug Use Practices in California Preweaned Dairy Calves", Front Vet Sci, vol. 2021 Apr 22, issue 8, pp. 636670, 2021.


The California (CA) dairy industry was surveyed in July 2017 to evaluate producers' knowledge and perceptions and antimicrobial drug (AMD) use in preweaned dairy calves following the implementation of the nationwide veterinary feed directive final rule (VFD) in January 2017 and prior to statewide implementation of CA Senate Bill (SB) 27 in January 2018. Together, these regulations require veterinary oversight for all uses of medically important antimicrobial drugs (MIADs) administered to livestock in CA. Survey questionnaire was mailed to 1,361 CA Grade A milk producing dairies and calf ranches across CA resulting in a 12% (169) response. Most respondents (83%) were aware of the VFD and SB 27 changes. Use of antibiotics was perceived as important (77%) in raising preweaned dairy calves and judicious use of antibiotics was ranked as the most important antimicrobial stewardship practice, amongst record keeping, observing withdrawal periods, having a valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR), and use of alternatives to antibiotics. Treating sick calves was the major indication for AMD use (90.5%); however, few producers reported use of antibiotics to control (12.7%) or prevent disease (11%). Neomycin sulfate, chlortetracycline, oxytetracycline and sulfamethazine were the most used AMD. The respondents reported a decreased use of AMD in milk (10%) and in solid feed (5%), and discontinuation of one or more AMDs used in milk (18.6%) or in solid feed (5%) post-VFD rule implementation in 2017. Most respondents reported keeping treatment records and the information recorded included date (82%), dose (44%) and route (15%) of AMD used. A few respondents reported they had initiated use of alternatives to AMDs, such as vitamins (32.6%), minerals (25.6%), herbal remedies (11.6%) and pathogen specific antibodies (7%), post-VFD. The limited changes noted in AMD use could be attributed to the short period between the implementation of the VFD and the time of the survey. Our study outcomes identified opportunities to improve AMD use practices, including record keeping and use of AMD alternatives, and provides a baseline for future evaluation of the impact of these regulatory changes, as well as guidance for the future recommendations on best practices to promote judicious AMD use.