Endemic gastrointestinal (GI) diseases have a substantial negative impact on pig production, because, when present, they reduce animal welfare, productivity and generate high antimicrobial (AM) demand. In Danish legislation,AMcan be prescribed only for therapeutic purposes. The objective of the study was to estimate the association between herd-level risk factors and the amount ofAMuse(AMU)in connection with GI diseases in finisher herds.We conducted a register-based cross-sectional study with repeated measurements from 2004 to 2007. Data were extracted from databases in the Danish Register of Veterinary Medicine, the Central Husbandry Register and the Danish Agriculture and Food Council. In total, 3192 pig herds with 26,973 records (quarters with prescriptions) were included. The outcome was presented as average AM use (measured as Animal Daily Dosage) for GI diseases per finishing pig per quarter per herd. Three potential herd-level risk factors were evaluated: herd size (number of finishers delivered for slaughter); herd health status (herds in the Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) System, conventional herds); and herd type (herds including only finishers, integrated herds). Data were analyzed using general linear mixed models with repeated measurements. Smaller herds had a larger AMU per finisher than larger herds. Integrated herds had lower AMU as compared with herds with only finishers. Herds within the SPF System had a larger decrease in AMU with increasing herd size compared to conventional herds. Significant regional differences inAMUwere seen. Additionally, the results showed that other herd factors and veterinarians were more influential than the investigated herd risk factors. This illustrates the difficulties of characterising AM-demanding GI diseases in herds by the use of register data only.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2011, Vol 98, Issue 3-3, p. 190-197