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Decrease in Animal Antimicrobial Use in Denmark

09 October 2015

DENMARK - Antimicrobial use in Danish animals decreased in 2014, with pets, horses and other companion animals accounting for four per cent of overall use.

These are some of the findings in the annual DANMAP report from Statens Serum Institut and the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark. DANMAP is the Danish integrated antimicrobial resistance monitoring and research programme.

In general very few of the critically important antimicrobials – which are used to treat humans – are used in the production of livestock. The use of critically important antimicrobials in companion animals has also decreased. 

In 2014, the total use of antimicrobials in livestock and pets in Denmark was 2 per cent lower than the previous year when measured in kilograms.

This decrease is mainly attributed to a 5 per cent decrease in the consumption of antimicrobials in pig production, which accounts for about 86 per cent of meat production in Denmark. However, antimicrobial usage in poultry and cattle has continued to increase in 2014.

Distributed by species, pigs account for around 76 per cent of antimicrobial use in 2014, cattle 11 per cent, aquaculture 4 per cent, poultry 1 per cent, fur animals 4 per cent, and pets, horses and other companion animals the remaining 4 per cent.

Increased use in cattle, horses and fish

Overall, consumption of antimicrobials in the treatment of cattle, horses and fish has increased in 2014 compared to the year before. However, this is not due to an increase in the use of critically important antimicrobials, as consumption of cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones in 2014 is lower than what was recorded in 2013. At the same time, the use of penicillins and sulfonamide/trimethroprim products has increased.

Companion animals account for nearly 47 per cent of the combined veterinary consumption of fluoroquinolones and approximately 66 per cent of the total use of cephalosporins in animals.

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