ACROBAT: Reduced use of AntimiCROBials in cAttle and poulTry
WP leader: Professor Jens Peter Christensen
WP participants: PhD student Vibe Pedersen Lund; Professor Liza Rosenbaum Nielsen & Assistant professor Ida Thøfner
Reduction of antimicrobial usage for animals is on the agenda all over Europe. A clear intention of ensuring prudent use of antimicrobials for animals is evident in the Veterinary Medicines Regulation adopted by the EU in 2019. The new Regulation will require Member States to monitor antimicrobial use in broilers and laying hens by 2023. In Denmark, the VetStat database has collected data on veterinary prescriptions of pharmaceuticals since 2000, but their validity for poultry species have not yet been documented.
To be able to ensure prudent use of antimicrobials to support animal and human health without compromising animal welfare, a valid monitoring system for antimicrobial usage is essential. When antimicrobial consumption is monitored, the association between antimicrobial treatment and health, welfare and productivity parameters can be investigated. Such investigations would allow development of recommendations to ensure prudent use of antimicrobials in broilers and laying hens.
In this work package, data on antimicrobial use as well as health, welfare and productivity indicators will be collected from available databases. The data will be analysed in order to identify patterns for use of antimicrobials and associations with health, welfare and productivity indicators. In addition to this, a number of layer farms will be selected and followed during the production period in order to identify causes of mortality and thus critical time intervals for disease management. Vaccine breaks in relation to important poultry disease is commonly observed in Denmark. Therefore, the efficiency of vaccine strategies will also be evaluated. Finally, a qualitative study will be undertaken to investigate practices and perceptions of egg producers towards disease management. The project will aim to create a better understanding of the health and welfare status of poultry in Denmark and how prudent use of antimicrobials for poultry can be enhanced.
The project activities are led primarily by PhD student Vibe Pedersen Lund under the supervision of Professor Jens Peter Christensen, Professor Liza Rosenbaum Nielsen and Assistant professor Ida Thøfner.
- WP leader: Professor Rikke Buhl
- WP participants: PhD student Regitze Pedersen, Professor Thomas Bjarnsholt, Assistant professor Kirstin Dahl-Pedersen, Professor Volker Krömker, Post doc Elin Jørgensen
Mastitis is one of the most important infectious diseases for dairy cows. It causes the milk farmers great economic loss and has consequences for animal welfare. The use of antibiotics for mastitis is the highest amongst adult dairy cows. The disease can be difficult to eradicate with antibiotics and can result in recurring or chronic infections.
Biofilm infection is a known reason for many recurrent and chronic infections, however, the research of mastitis is sparsely elucidated.
This Ph.D.-study will focus on the role of biofilm in mastitis by obtaining udder biopsies and milk samples from dairy cows with mastitis.
The samples will be analyzed with microbiological and molecular techniques to establish the microbiome in the udder and milk of dairy cows with mastitis. The location and composition of the bacteria will be investigated by confocal microscopy. The transcriptome of the bacterial and host cells will be established to characterize the interactions between the bacterial and host cells during a mastitis infection.
We hope to gain a better understanding of mastitis to optimize the treatment of dairy cows and to decrease the use of antibiotics in the dairy industry.
Evidence based treatment of clinical Mastitis
Mastitis is one of the major health problems within Dairy cattle production. The consequences of this include impaired animal welfare and large production losses and it is accountable for the biggest share of total use of antibiotics in fully grown animals in Denmark (https://www.danmap.org/).
Society and the livestock industry agree that it is sensible to lower the use of antibiotics, but at the same time they do not want animals or production to suffer because of this. That is why we wish to focus on the optimal treatment, which is evidence based, but does not necessarily rely on large amounts of antibiotics in all cases. We will also investigate, how this can be implemented while taking into account animal welfare, the farmer’s economy and the demands stated by our society about lowering the use of antibiotics.
We will start by looking at how mastitis is diagnosed and treated in Denmark today by means of surveys and a review literature on the subject. Thereby we aim to identify how the current methods differ from suggestions by the latest research. Subsequently we will develop and test a new treatment strategy, which is built upon a more prudent use of antibiotics, but still ensures that it is used in cases where it is indispensable.
We’re hoping to be able to give veterinarians and farmers new tools to improved decision-making, when treating mastitis, and to contribute to a lower overall usage of antibiotics in cattle production.
The project activities are led primarily by Ph.D. student Jensine Wilm under the supervision of Professor Volker Krömker and Professor Tariq Halasa.
Pneumonia is the most frequent cause of disease and death of calves and a great part of the antimicrobials in the cattle sector is prescribed for pneumonia. The usual perception is that an initial viral infection can develop into a secondary bacterial infection, often requiring antibiotic treatment.
Use of broadspectrum antibiotics are currently frequently used for flock treatment in dairy-beef calf herds raising ‘left-over’ calves from dairy production, because diagnostics are rarely used for individual animals, and in some instances because diagnostics are difficult to use at animal level. Treatment are often initiated based on clinical signs as nasal discharge and depression but then it is too late to treat, which results in poor treatment effect and irreversible pathological changes and hence reduced animal welfare. If it is possibly to reduce the intensity and the inflammatory response of the primary viral infection by treating early with a non-steroidal-antiinflammatory-drug (NSAID), the irreversible changes in the lung tissue and development of a secondary bacterial infection can be prevented in many cases, and thereby the chance of recovery is improved and the need for antimicrobial treatment is lowered. The study will be conducted in 2-3 commercial cattle herds where a clinical examination of each calf will be performed. Also, activity and temperature measurement devices will be used to monitor the effect of the treatment. Finally, a study of the physical effects in the calves will be investigated with weight measurements and other factors for evaluating the effect of the treatment.
Big Data to estimate the effects of chronic diseases on usage of antibiotics in dairy cattle
Antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem. Therefore, efforts should be made to reduce antibiotic consumption, without affecting animal welfare and food safety. This is also a focus of the EU Animal Health Law from 2016. Thus, a long life is required in dairy cattle, but not at the cost of increased antibiotic consumption or untreated diseases in the animals.
In dairy cattle, most of the antibiotic consumption is due to mastitis, which is routinely monitored e.g. via cell count measurements in the milk. Another disease with high prevalence in dairy cattle is paratuberculosis, which is a chronic disease that cannot be treated. Both mastitis and paratuberculosis affect milk production and animal welfare and are therefore not desirable in the herd. But at the same time, they are hard to control.
In this Big Data project, health data from dairy cattle will be analyzed using parameters such as consumption of antibiotics for mastitis treatment, cell counts, paratuberculosis, milk production, slaughter data and other data that are compared with other variables and factors of importance in the health of dairy cattle.
Among other things, it will be investigated if there is an increased risk of further antibiotic treatment once a treatment has been completed, and if there is a greater risk of antibiotic treatment if there is a combination of diseases in an animal.
The economic aspects will also be analyzed so that treatment scenarios can be optimized for specific herds depending on what should be in focus to achieve both animal welfare and milk yield with low antibiotic consumption.