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Producer attitudes and practices related to antimicrobial use in beef cattle in Tennessee

Alice L. Green MS, DVM1, L. Rand Carpenter DVM2, Darryl E. Edmisson MS Ed3, Clyde D. Lane PhD4, Matt G. Welborn DVM, DACVPM5, Fred M. Hopkins DVM, DACT6, David A. Bemis PhD, DACVM7, and John R. Dunn DVM, PhD8
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  • 1 Communicable and Environmental Disease Services, Tennessee Department of Health, 425 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37243.
  • | 2 Communicable and Environmental Disease Services, Tennessee Department of Health, 425 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37243.
  • | 3 Communicable and Environmental Disease Services, Tennessee Department of Health, 425 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37243.
  • | 4 Agricultural Extension Service, University of Tennessee, Jackson, TN 38301.
  • | 5 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37919.
  • | 6 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37919.
  • | 7 Department of Comparative Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37919.
  • | 8 Communicable and Environmental Disease Services, Tennessee Department of Health, 425 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37243.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and management practices involving antimicrobial use among Tennessee beef producers.

Design—Mail survey.

Sample Population—A population-based, stratified random sample of 3,000 beef producers across the state.

Procedures—Questionnaires were mailed to beef producers. Questions focused on producer practices related to education, biosecurity, veterinary use, and the purchase and use of antimicrobials. Operation types were categorized as either cow-calf only or multiple operation type (MOT). Associations between various factors and antimicrobial use were evaluated by use of multivariable logistic regression, with the outcome variable being any antimicrobial use (injectable or by mouth) in the past year.

Results—Of 3,000 questionnaires mailed, 1,042 (34.7%) were returned. A significantly higher proportion of producers with MOTs reported giving antimicrobials by mouth or by injection than did producers with cow-calf only operations. In addition, higher proportions of producers with MOTs than producers with cow-calf only operations reported treating with macrolides, florfenicol, ceftiofur, and aminoglycosides. In the multivariable analysis, herd size >50 cattle, participation in Beef Quality Assurance or master beef producer certification programs, quarantining of newly purchased animals, use of written instructions for treating disease, and observation of withdrawal times were associated with a higher likelihood of antimicrobial use.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that producers who engaged in more progressive farming practices were also more likely to use antimicrobials. Incorporating training on judicious antimicrobial use into educational programs would likely increase awareness of best management practices regarding antimicrobial use.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and management practices involving antimicrobial use among Tennessee beef producers.

Design—Mail survey.

Sample Population—A population-based, stratified random sample of 3,000 beef producers across the state.

Procedures—Questionnaires were mailed to beef producers. Questions focused on producer practices related to education, biosecurity, veterinary use, and the purchase and use of antimicrobials. Operation types were categorized as either cow-calf only or multiple operation type (MOT). Associations between various factors and antimicrobial use were evaluated by use of multivariable logistic regression, with the outcome variable being any antimicrobial use (injectable or by mouth) in the past year.

Results—Of 3,000 questionnaires mailed, 1,042 (34.7%) were returned. A significantly higher proportion of producers with MOTs reported giving antimicrobials by mouth or by injection than did producers with cow-calf only operations. In addition, higher proportions of producers with MOTs than producers with cow-calf only operations reported treating with macrolides, florfenicol, ceftiofur, and aminoglycosides. In the multivariable analysis, herd size >50 cattle, participation in Beef Quality Assurance or master beef producer certification programs, quarantining of newly purchased animals, use of written instructions for treating disease, and observation of withdrawal times were associated with a higher likelihood of antimicrobial use.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that producers who engaged in more progressive farming practices were also more likely to use antimicrobials. Incorporating training on judicious antimicrobial use into educational programs would likely increase awareness of best management practices regarding antimicrobial use.

Contributor Notes

Supported by a grant from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Address correspondence to Dr. Green (Alice.L.Green@gmail.com).

Members of the Tennessee Team on Antimicrobial Resistance assisted with and participated in survey design and analysis for the present study. Members are listed at the end of the article.

Members of the TTAR: Janet Bailey, DVM; Margie Carter, DVM; John C. Donaldson, DVM; Dick Dougherty, DVM; Charles W. Hatcher, DVM; John C. New, DVM; Stephen P. Oliver, PhD; John Sanford; Boyce P. Wanamaker, DVM, MS; and Ronald B. Wilson, DVM (deceased, October 2008).