A Review of Alternative Practices to Antimicrobial Use for Disease Control in the Commercial Feedlot

Publication Summary

The purpose of this review was to a) give an overview of the modern feedlot industry in North America to provide context, and b) to search the scientific literature in order to identify alternative practices to antimicrobial use for disease control in that same industry. A fundamental assumption of the review was that reducing antimicrobial use would reduce the potential for antimicrobial resistant bacteria to emerge and persist in the feedlot setting. To most effectively reduce antimicrobial use in the feedlot, one needs to find alternative ways to prevent or effectively manage bacterial pneumonia in calves (often the principle reason for antimicrobial use) around the time of their arrival at the feedlot, as well as other diseases caused by bacteria (e.g. liver abscesses). A key review question was: “Are there management practices that do not involve the administration of antimicrobials that reduce the incidence of illness and mortality due to pneumonia, especially in high risk feedlot calves?” A search was also conducted for management practices that reduce the incidence of liver abscesses in feedlot cattle but that do not rely on in-feed or sub-therapeutic antimicrobial use.