The use of common antimicrobial agents in US veal calves.
The use of antimicrobials in food animals and the selection of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens continue to be prominent concerns for human food safety and public health. To provide optimal stewardship programs, antimicrobial use in animal production operations must be quantified and standardized for benchmarking and creating goals, monitoring temporal trends, and identifying causes of emerging resistance. In the United States, quantified estimates of antimicrobial use are available in dairy and beef cattle, but these data have not been generated for veal calf herds. Therefore, the objective of this study was to estimate the treatment incidence (TI) of antimicrobials for eight US veal calf farms in one rearing cycle. Treatment incidences were compared between calculated doses defined by the labeled daily dose (LDD), animal-defined daily dose (ADD) from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) guideline, and the used daily dose (UDD) from the farm treatment protocols. Among eight farms, veal calves received a mean of 34.40 LDD, 34.88 ADD, and 28.68 UDD of an antimicrobial per 100 days. The lower TI based on the UDD administration was a result of higher farm protocol dosing relative to the labeled and EMA daily doses. Higher quantities of antimicrobial administration were observed in the first three weeks (day 1-21) of rearing (Tukey-adjusted p < .05). This study is the first to quantitatively estimate the TI of antimicrobials on the US veal calf operations and serves as an important step toward the development of antimicrobial stewardship programs.