In recent years, the scientific community, institutions, and public opinion have shown a growing awareness towards the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Guidelines from the European Union aim at significantly reducing (even avoiding) the antimicrobial use for prophylactic and metaphylactic purposes in veterinary medicine and this represents an important issue for several intensive farming systems, such as the veal industry. This retrospective observational cohort study analyzed net carcass weight data at the slaughter of 618 veal calves belonging to 6 batches of animals fattened in an Italian commercial farm according to the number of individual antimicrobial treatments administered during the fattening cycle. Sixty-eight percent (419 animals) of the overall sample of calves received at least one individual antimicrobial treatment due to a disease event during the fattening, and 280 of these (45 % of the overall sample) had more than one treatment. On average, the net carcass weight of calves individually treated more than once was about 10 kg lower than that of untreated calves or treated only once. Moreover, the carcasses of calves that received more than one treatment were 16 times more at risk of being severely penalized in payment at the slaughterhouse due to a net weight below 110 kg than those of untreated calves. Serum analysis data of a subsample of 105 calves belonging to 3 out of the 6 batches collected within 5 days after their arrival to the veal farm identified 3 persistently infected animals by bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus and a prevalence of calves with serum immunoglobulin concentration below 7.5 g/L of 37 %. The presence of specific antibodies against infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) and a serum immunoglobulin level above 7.5 g/L at the onset of the fattening were the most important factors associated with a decreased risk of multiple individual antimicrobial treatments (and thus, disease development) or with a delay in disease onset during the fattening, thus leading to better performances at the slaughter. The outcomes of this study suggested that a relationship could exist between calf serostatus upon arrival to the veal farm and the possibility to avoid multiple individual antimicrobial treatments during fattening. Further research is needed to deeply study this association, as such knowledge would allow for planning effective preventing strategies to reduce the antimicrobial use in veal calves.

Individual antimicrobial treatments in veal calves: Effect on the net carcasses weight at the slaughterhouse and relationship with the serostatus of the calves upon arrival to the fattening unit

Lora, Isabella;Magrin, Luisa;Contiero, Barbara;Ranzato, Giovanna;Cozzi, Giulio
2022

Abstract

In recent years, the scientific community, institutions, and public opinion have shown a growing awareness towards the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Guidelines from the European Union aim at significantly reducing (even avoiding) the antimicrobial use for prophylactic and metaphylactic purposes in veterinary medicine and this represents an important issue for several intensive farming systems, such as the veal industry. This retrospective observational cohort study analyzed net carcass weight data at the slaughter of 618 veal calves belonging to 6 batches of animals fattened in an Italian commercial farm according to the number of individual antimicrobial treatments administered during the fattening cycle. Sixty-eight percent (419 animals) of the overall sample of calves received at least one individual antimicrobial treatment due to a disease event during the fattening, and 280 of these (45 % of the overall sample) had more than one treatment. On average, the net carcass weight of calves individually treated more than once was about 10 kg lower than that of untreated calves or treated only once. Moreover, the carcasses of calves that received more than one treatment were 16 times more at risk of being severely penalized in payment at the slaughterhouse due to a net weight below 110 kg than those of untreated calves. Serum analysis data of a subsample of 105 calves belonging to 3 out of the 6 batches collected within 5 days after their arrival to the veal farm identified 3 persistently infected animals by bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus and a prevalence of calves with serum immunoglobulin concentration below 7.5 g/L of 37 %. The presence of specific antibodies against infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) and a serum immunoglobulin level above 7.5 g/L at the onset of the fattening were the most important factors associated with a decreased risk of multiple individual antimicrobial treatments (and thus, disease development) or with a delay in disease onset during the fattening, thus leading to better performances at the slaughter. The outcomes of this study suggested that a relationship could exist between calf serostatus upon arrival to the veal farm and the possibility to avoid multiple individual antimicrobial treatments during fattening. Further research is needed to deeply study this association, as such knowledge would allow for planning effective preventing strategies to reduce the antimicrobial use in veal calves.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3453217
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