Review session to answer questions about animal antibiotic use

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An Ohio State University professor will answer questions regarding antibiotic use in livestock during a Sept. 19 presentation at the Farm Science Review in London, Ohio.

“Animal Antibiotic Use and Resistance” will start at 9:20 a.m. as part of the Review’s “Question the Authorities” schedule in the OSU area in the center of the main show grounds.

Livestock and poultry producers work with veterinarians to use antibiotics for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is the treatment of sick animals. But antibiotics also are used to control or prevent disease in livestock populations or for improved growth efficiency.

All of these are approved uses of antibiotics in livestock, but they can potentially result in antibiotic resistance, said Tom Wittum, Ohio State University professor of veterinary epidemiology in the colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health.

“This is a really important topic that many consumers have very real concerns about, so it is important that we understand the science of antibiotic resistance so those concerns can be addressed,” he said.

Bacteria are very adaptable and have a variety of mechanisms to evade or resist the effects of antibiotics, Wittum said.

“As a result, resistance often occurs following antibiotic use but may never be seen,” he said. “Resistant bacteria that develop in livestock can potentially pose a threat to humans if they contaminate carcasses during processing and enter the food supply in fresh meat products.”

While this is rare, it can and does occur.

“For livestock and poultry producers, antibiotic use in livestock and potential resistance is an issue that their customers are truly concerned about,” Wittum said. “Agriculture will benefit if the concerns of their customers are directly addressed and resolved.”

Wittum expects to discuss some of the current antibiotic use practices on farms, important antibiotic resistance concerns and how to prevent antibiotic resistance from occurring.

The Question the Authorities program at Farm Science Review is a joint effort of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Veterinary Medicine is increasing its participation in Farm Science Review this year, offering 20 of the Question the Authorities sessions.

Farm Science Review is sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Pre-show tickets are $5 at all OSU Extension county offices. Tickets are also available at local agribusinesses. Tickets are $8 at the gate. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 18-19 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 20.

For more information, see  For the latest news and updates, follow Farm Science Review on Twitter (@OhioStateFSR) and Facebook at

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