Can you please advise me of the reprocussions of the use of antibiotics like penicillin may have on the pregnant sow?
Antibiotics are not as commonly used with breeding animals as in diets for growing pigs. Research has shown antibiotics to be effective during certain critical stages of the reproductive cycle, such as at the time of breeding. A summary of nine research trials shows that a high level (0.5 to 1.0 gram/sow/day) of an absorbable antibiotic (such as one of the tetracyclines; ASP-250 for example which contains penicilling, the antibiotic you mention above) at the time of breeding improves conception rate by 11% and improves litter size by .5 pigs/litter at the subsequent farrowing. Generally, benefit from antibiotics in gestation diets is minimal unless the disease level within the herd is quite high. Antimicrobial agents are thought to be beneficial at farrowing and during early lactation because the sow and her pigs are more vulnerable to stress at this time. Research data suggest that weaning weights are increased by about 5% and pig survival increased slightly when these agents are included in the pre-farrowing and lactation diets.
For information on use of antibiotics for gestating (pregnant) sows, please see the following web site(s).
Some other web sites you might wish to visit include:
http://www.who.org/ (World Health Organization)
http://www.who.int/emc/amr.html (Antimicrobial Resistance)
http://www.who.int/emc/diseases/zoo/zoo97_4.html (The Medical Impact of the
Use of Antimicrobials in Food Animals)
http://www.cdc.gov/ (Center for Disease Control)
This information is provided by:
Gilbert Hollis, Ph.D.
For more information about Dr. Hollis, see the Swine Management and Nutrition Answers page.