Factors associated with routine mass antimicrobial usage in fattening pig units in a high pig-density area

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One hundred and seven fattening pig units randomly selected in Catalonia (Spain) were surveyed during 20012003, in order to determine the frequency of the prophylactic use of antimicrobials and mass treatments against respiratory and enteric disease outbreaks. Logistic regression and regression tree analysis were done to determine the factors associated with the on-farm mass antimicrobial usage. Fifty-eight per cent of the surveyed farms used mass antimicrobial prophylaxis; among them, 39% used two or more antimicrobials. The more frequently administered drugs were colistin, beta-lactams and tetracyclines. Fattening units from strict finishing farms were more likely to use antimicrobials than farrow-to-finish farms (Odds Ratio = 11.7) and farms with changing facilities were less likely to use these compounds (OR = 0.17). In the event of a respiratory disease outbreak, most farms applied mass treatment and 46% used two or more compounds, with tetracyclines, beta-lactams and sulphonamides being the most popular ones. Mass treatment with several compounds in case of respiratory problems was significantly related to the use of growth promoters on the farm (OR = 4.3). If an outbreak of an enteric disease occurred, most farms resorted also to a mass treatment and 48% used two or more drugs. The most frequent antimicrobial agent for the treatment of enteric disease was colistin. Fattening farms (OR = 6.9) and operations that perform routine antimicrobial prophylaxis (OR = 2.0) were more likely to use more than one antimicrobial agent for enteric diseases. © INRA, EDP Sciences, 2007.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-492
JournalVeterinary Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007


  • Antimicrobial agents
  • Fattening pig units
  • Prophylactic usage
  • Regression tree


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