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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2012 Apr;67(4):1027-38. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkr570. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

Prospective study on quantitative and qualitative antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory drug use in white veal calves.

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Department of Large Animal Internal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.



To document and quantify drug use in white veal calves, an intensive livestock production system where multidrug resistance is abundantly present.


Drug consumption data were prospectively collected on 15 white veal production cohorts (n = 5853 calves) in Belgium (2007-09). Treatment incidences (TIs) based on animal defined daily dose (ADD), prescribed daily dose (PDD) and used daily dose (UDD) were calculated. Risk factors were identified by linear regression.


The average TI(ADD) of antimicrobial treatments was 416.8 ADD per 1000 animals at risk. Predominantly, oral group antimicrobial treatments were used (95.8%). Of the oral group antimicrobial treatments, 12% and 88% were used for prophylactic or metaphylactic indications, respectively. The main indication for group and individual drug use was respiratory disease. The most frequently used antimicrobials (group treatments) were oxytetracycline (23.7%), amoxicillin (18.5%), tylosin (17.2%) and colistin (15.2%). Deviations from the leaflet dosage recommendations were frequently encountered, with 43.7% of the group treatments underdosed (often oxytetracycline and tylosin to treat dysbacteriosis). In 33.3% of the oral antimicrobial group treatments a combination of two antimicrobial preparations was used. Smaller integrations used more antimicrobials in group treatments than larger ones (P < 0.05); an integration is defined as a company that combines all steps of the production chain by having its own feed plant and slaughterhouse and by placing its calves in veal herds owned by producers that fatten these calves for this integration on contract. Producers used higher dosages than prescribed by the veterinarian in cohorts with a single caretaker (P < 0.01).


The present study provided detailed information on the intensive antimicrobial use in the white veal industry. Reduction can only be achieved by reducing the number of oral group treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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