AHI survey reveals decline in antibiotic use


The decline reveals veterinarians' prudent use of antibiotic drugs, AHI officials say.

WASHINGTON—An annual survey of animal health companies shows the volume of antibiotics used in animals in the United States dropped nearly 8 percent in 2003 compared to the previous year.

Roughly 20 million pounds of antibiotics were produced for use in farm and companion animals, revealing a decline from 22 million pounds produced in 2002, reports the Animal Health Institute (AHI) in its poll of drug manufacturer sales.

The decline reveals veterinarians' prudent use of antibiotic drugs, AHI officials say.

"Antibiotics, used carefully and judiciously to protect animal health, are an important component of our food safety system," says Alexander Mathews, AHI President and CEO. "In addition, they help extend the quality and length of life for our cats, dogs and other companion animals. This annual data provides evidence of the careful use of these important products."

The data

The AHI survey shows cephalosporins, macrolides, lincosamides, polypeptides, streptogramins and other minor classes of antibiotics took the biggest hit this year, down 1.46 million pounds to total 3,815,829 pounds sold in 2003. Following the trend are aminoglycosides, down 43,470 pounds; ionophores and arsenicals, down 406,319 pounds; and sulfonamides and penicillins, down 68,843 pounds to total 746,472.

At the same time, use of fluoroquinolones appears on the rise, with 45,406 pounds sold in 2003, up 7,471 pounds from 2002. The use of tetracyclines also shows an increase at 6,591,974 million pounds sold in 2003, up 244,312 pounds from the previous year, AHI says.

Survey respondents provide an assessment each year of the amount of veterinary antibiotics produces for therapeutic use and health maintenance. The percentage of veterinary antibiotics produced reported as therapeutic was 83 percent in 2001, 91 percent in 2002 and rose to 92 percent in 2003, officials say.

For more survey results, visit the AHI Web site at www.ahi.org.

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