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Table 1 Practices related to antibiotic use in animal health, and their implications in antimicrobial resistance

From: A review of animal health and drug use practices in India, and their possible link to antimicrobial resistance

  Animal health practices Implications
Farm practices (with potential to cause AMR) Chauhan et al. [23]; Kumar and Gupta [24] Selling of milk from cows given antibiotics In cases where withdrawal periods have not been observed and residue levels are beyond the recommended levels, consumers can be exposed to low antibiotic doses, which can result to resistant bacteria.
Inadequate disease-control practices including vaccination Disease control is important as new infections are avoided and the need to use antimicrobials is reduced. The risk of AMR is minimized.
Not aware about antibiotic withdrawal periods, for those aware, considering it impractical given the loss implications Farmers are likely to sell antibiotic-contaminated milk, and this has serious health implications
Unrestricted access to antibiotics Chauhan et al. [23];
Kumar and Gupta
[25]; Chauhan et al. [26]
Bhushan et al. [27]
Direct marketing of drugs to farmers The strategy may encourage farmers to use antibiotics in cases where they are not required. Prudent use of drugs is important in addressing the problem of AMR.
Over-the-counter access (informal prescribers, with or without prescription, and through re-use of old prescriptions). Inappropriate use is promoted.
Use of low-cost antibiotics by small- scale farmers (how much is used depends on the severity of infection) A problem if these are of poor quality or are easily available over- the-counter as there is tendency to use them inappropriately. Exposure to low doses over a long period of time may encourage selection of resistant bacterial strains.
Farmers administer antibiotic to animals irrespective of whether the disease is infectious or not This implies misuse of antibiotics and may trigger AMR.
Use of antibiotics labelled for humans (and those for other livestock species) Appropriate dosages and withdrawal period cannot be determined. Use of last-resort antibiotics would have serious health implications.
Consultation when an animal is sick.
Garg and Mohanta [28]; Chauhan et al. [23]; Kumar and Gupta [24]
Consulting veterinarians after the case has become serious, and often after sick animals have been treated by unqualified individuals Chronic cases are less likely to be successful, and the infection may have become resistant, making the veterinarians unable to save the animal, and the farmer loses confidence.
Consulting with unprofessional groups (e.g. milk vendors and the para-veterinarians) They are not trained and therefore not aware of the right medication to use. They are also not knowledgeable about AMR.
Lack of operational laboratory facilities (lack of microbiologists, equipment etc.). Quality tests allow for confirmation of specific pathogens and will inform the choice of antibiotics to use. Tests are also important in surveillance of AMR.