Industry Focus

Antimicrobial Stewardship

Antimicrobial stewardship in Australian pork producing businesses

….“As little as possible, as much as necessary” .…

Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is the practice of using antimicrobial treatments in the appropriate way to secure their use and efficacy for the future. To reduce selection pressures favouring resistant organisms, the way forward is to optimise herd management, nutrition, environment, air quality, hygiene and early disease detection and hence reduce the overall amounts of antimicrobials used. Along with other livestock industries, the Australian pork industry has developed an AMS plan.

Visit the Australian Veterinary Association website to access the Antimicrobial prescribing guidelines for pigs.

Why do we use antimicrobials in pig farming?

Keeping pigs healthy is about more than just using antimicrobials. Producers work closely with their vets to ensure they have good biosecurity, good pig health, good nutrition, good air quality and good hygiene. Industry has put together some videos that help explain how we keep our pigs healthy.

Standardisation of Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Methods Used for Porcine Pathogens

The final report for the APL-funded Standardisation of Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Methods Used for Porcine Pathogens project is now available.

Read the final report online

Project summary: Rapid, cost-effective diagnostic for detecting AMR

Defining the antimicrobial resistance status of pork and chicken meat enterprises for global market competitive advantage.
Read the summary online

Getting the basics right

The basis of good antimicrobial stewardship is getting the basics right – good biosecurity, good pig health, good hygiene and good nutrition. A key highlight to recent presentations around the country by Dr Mandy Nevel from the Agriculture Horticulture Development Board in UK was the importance of water. Antimicrobials administrated through water require good quality water and clean pipes to ensure your antimicrobials work well. Is your water quality good enough?

Find out more and access some great resources from AHDB

Further resources

Pork CRC has also funded work in this area.

Read the PorkCRC Drinking Water Quality Final Report

Dr Nevel was also the invited keynote speaker at the Australian Pig Veterinarians conference in Cairns this year, providing us all with the opportunity to learn of challenges and issues being faced by UK pig producers and approaches that are being used to overcome them.

AMS factsheets

APL with the assistance of pig veterinarians have put together AMS factsheets to provide information about AMS.

Antimicrobials are compounds that include the antibiotics (made by living microorganisms), their synthetic cousins and compounds such as zinc oxide that, on application to living tissue or given to a patient, will selectively kill, or prevent or inhibit growth of susceptible organisms.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious global threat to both human and animal health. Locally and globally there is close examination of animal production practices that might contribute to the transfer of AMR to human pathogens and the effects that interventions to reduce antibiotic use in food-producing animals might have on the level of AMR organisms in humans and animals. The evidence suggests that many of the AMR problems in human medicine are not related to AMR in animals. Nonetheless, it is reasonable that antimicrobial use should only be implemented when necessary.

Regulatory guidance in Australia is provided by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). The APVMA is responsible for the registration of chemicals and veterinary medicines in animal production. Registered veterinarians are permitted to prescribe a medication for pigs if it is approved by the APVMA for use in pigs or in other food animals. Antimicrobials considered by the World Health Organisation as critically important (colistin, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins) have not been registered for pigs. Hence vets are not permitted to prescribe them for pigs.

The foundations of disease prevention rest with sound biosecurity, vaccines, good management, excellent hygiene and air quality and well-trained staff.

Australian Pork Limited is committed to ensuring the safety, quality and nutritional value of pork. Our focus on keeping our pigs healthy is at the forefront of the work we do and one that producers share with the community.

For more information on AMS, visit Animal Health Australia’s website.