Work in the cattle and sheep sectors is ongoing to explore what a similar industry tool to the electronic-Medicine Book for pigs could look like for their respective industries. Following an initial pilot project with cattle in 2018, a second phase of work for what is being called an ‘e-Medicines Hub (eMH)’ was commissioned, this time for both cattle and sheep data. The aim is to capture: national sector level reporting of antibiotic use in line with ESVAC methodology; farm level data for identification of trends in how antibiotics are being used and to facilitate benchmarking within and between farms. Work will continue on this through 2020.
In the meantime, the sector set a target of reducing use by 20% from an estimated baseline of 26.2 mg/kg in 2016 to 21 mg/kg in 2020, as detailed in the 2016 Targets Task Force report. The sector also aimed to halve HP-CIA use, reduce use of intra-mammary dry cow products by 20% and lactating cow products by 10% 2015-2020, and had an additional aim of increasing use of teat sealants at drying off, indicating a swing to less use of dry cow therapy.
2018 usage data from a sample of dairy cattle comprising 31% of the national dairy herd has been reported as 17 mg/kg.
Sales of injectable HP-CIAs for beef and dairy cattle has fallen 46% since 2016, and is now at 0.502 mg/kg.
Sales of intra-mammary HP_CIA tubes has fallen 64% since 2015, and is now at 0.120 DCDVet.
Sales of intra-mammary dry cow tubes have fallen 12% since 2015 (measured in DCDVet) and lactating cow tubes by 4% (DCDVet).
Sealant tube usage has risen marginally, by 2% from 0.5 courses per cow to 0.51.
The sector has also identified that monitoring uptake of preventative measures, such as vaccinations for respiratory disease, could provide a useful indicator of potential antibiotic reduction. An updated vaccination report from AHDB shows that vaccination levels in cattle are rising with almost 10 million doses of vaccine were sold for use in cattle in 2018.
New metrics to measure antibiotic use on-farm were confirmed in 2018. It was agreed these would both total usage and overall usage of Highest Priority Critically Important
Antibiotics (HP-CIAs), as defined by the Antimicrobial Advice Ad Hoc Expert Group (AMEG), would be measured. These would be captured as 1) mg/Population Correction Unit (PCU); 2) Average number of antibiotic courses per dairy cow for dry cow therapy, and 3) Average number of antibiotic courses per dairy cow for lactating cow therapy. More information is available at www.chawg.org.uk.