Antimicrobial use in the uncomplicated cesarean section in cattle in Flanders

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E. De Coensel

S. Sarrazin

G. Opsomer

J. Dewulf

Published Mar 2, 2020


The cesarean section (SC) is an example of a routine surgery frequently conducted by Flemish veterinarians in bovine practice. Although the operation technique is taught according to a standard protocol, it has been shown in previous studies that antimicrobial usage during this procedure is highly variable. In the present study, a questionnaire was used to identify which antimicrobial products are commonly used in standard cesarean sections and to what extent they are in agreement with the recommendations proposed by the Centre of Expertise on Antimicrobial Consumption and Resistance in Animals (AMCRA). The results show that every respondent uses antibiotics during the surgery. In addition, nineteen percent always applies an antimicrobial treatment shortly after the surgery. Penicillin is used in 52% of the cases as first option, which is in line with the AMCRA guidelines. Forty-eight percent of the respondents use broad spectrum products, such as penicillin-neomycin, penicillin-dihydrostreptomycin, lincosamide-spectinomycin), which are considered second-choice antibiotics according to AMCRA. As far as the intramuscular treatments before and after the cesarean section are concerned, only 35% of the respondents use a dose that is in agreement with the reference doses for a cow between 600 and 800 kg. Especially directly after the cesarean section and during the after-treatment, there is underdosing. Based upon the evaluation of the time of treatment and the type of antibiotic used, it appears that only 23% of the respondents work in agreement with the AMCRA guidelines. These results clearly show that the use of antimicrobials during an uncomplicated SC in cattle is highly variable and corresponds only to a limited extent with the AMCRA guidelines. Likely, the guidelines are not well enough known among Flemish veterinarians and should therefore be communicated and promoted more intensively.

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