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Animals 2018, 8(11), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110198

Antibiotic Use on Goat Farms: An Investigation of Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Missouri Goat Farmers

1
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Doisy College of Health Sciences, Saint Louis University, 3437 Caroline St. Room 3076, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA
2
Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education, College for Public Health and Social Justice, Saint Louis University, 3545 Lafayette Room 310, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA
3
Department of Population Health Sciences, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, 205 Duck Pond Dr. Room 372, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
4
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College for Public Health and Social Justice, Saint Louis University, 3545 Lafayette, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA
5
Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Washington University-St Louis, 4533 Clayton Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 September 2018 / Revised: 23 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Antibiotics in Farm Animal Production Systems)
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Simple Summary

Overuse or inappropriate use of antibiotics in agriculture has been implicated in the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, a significant and growing public health threat. In a previous study, we found that Missouri goats had a higher percentage of antibiotic residues at slaughter than predicted based on the national average, so we undertook this study to understand contributing factors. As farmers are typically the ones administering antibiotics to their animals, we set out to investigate Missouri goat farmers’ knowledge and attitudes regarding antibiotics, veterinarians, and antibiotic resistance using qualitative research interview methods. Our aims were to determine circumstances leading to farmers’ administration of antibiotics, farmers’ decision process resulting in the use of antibiotics, the role of veterinarians, and farmers’ perceptions about antibiotic resistance. The following themes emerged: how farmers detect illnesses in individual goats, herd health management, where farmers obtain antibiotics, and farmers’ thoughts about antibiotic resistance. Our findings highlighted the need for more emphasis on goat health management during veterinary education and the need for improved working relationships between veterinarians and farmers to promote appropriate antibiotic use and prevent the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Abstract

Use of low dose, prophylactic antibiotics contributes to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In one study, goat meat in Missouri was found to have a higher percentage of antibiotic residues at slaughter than the national average, so we attempted to identify factors related to goat production that may contribute to this issue. Using the knowledge, attitude, and behavior (KAB) model, we interviewed 11 Missouri goat farmers about factors affecting antibiotic use. Most of the farmers did not have specific protocols for managing illnesses and only relied on veterinarians for major health issues. Many felt veterinarians lacked knowledge about goat medicine so instead relied on other farmers’ or their own experiences for treatment modalities. While most agreed that antibiotic resistance was a concern, only 4 of the 11 indicated that they only used antibiotics when prescribed by the veterinarian. Veterinarians should be relied on and valued for their medical expertise, but they are not always being utilized in this manner. Therefore, veterinary education should emphasize goat health management to a greater extent than it currently does, and soft skills to build collaborative relationships with farmers should be taught to promote preventative health measures and more judicious use of antibiotics. View Full-Text
Keywords: antibiotic use; goat farmers; farming practices; antibiotic resistant bacteria; veterinarian antibiotic use; goat farmers; farming practices; antibiotic resistant bacteria; veterinarian
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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K. Landfried, L.; K. Barnidge, E.; Pithua, P.; D. Lewis, R.; A. Jacoby, J.; C. King, C.; R. Baskin, C. Antibiotic Use on Goat Farms: An Investigation of Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Missouri Goat Farmers. Animals 2018, 8, 198.

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