Antibiotic resistance is described as an organism’s ability to withstand the killing effects of antibiotics that it was normally susceptible to and has become a global problem.
This microbial resistance is not a new phenomenon as all micro-organisms have an inherent ability to withstand certain antibiotics. This rapid increase in the development and spread of the antibiotic resistance is, however, a main cause of concern
Resistance to antibiotics has resulted in the majority of producers in some countries launching programs to reduce and eliminate the use of antibiotics, where possible.
The trend is similar in South Africa although not to the same extent as in the US and some European countries.
However, reducing the use of antibiotics could lead to a higher incidence of diseases such as coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis that had previously been kept in check by the use of antimicrobials or other products and this, in turn, could lead to animal welfare problems if not properly managed.
For this reason, farmers should employ a veterinarian’s services to ensure a smooth transition to a regime where antibiotics are only reserved as a last resort when the flock faces a serious threat.
However, when antibiotics are used in such circumstances, products from such flocks cannot be marketed as non-antibiotic.
The programme that takes into account the unique circumstances of the farm, as well as the burden of disease, should be well thought out.
It must be implemented gradually to facilitate problem-solving when challenges arise, and accompanied by strict biosecurity measures to prevent disease introduction.
The use of probiotics, vaccines, and essential oils in combination with good animal welfare practices and modifications to the production environment to improve gut health and performance will all help bridge the gap left by antibiotic use.
therefore, to prevent losses and other disaster, antibiotics should be used effectively and with precautions.