Initiatives on Antimicrobial Use in Pigs

Electronic medicine book launched to record antibiotic usage data in pigs

Mark White, Chair of the PVS Medicines subcommittee, presented details of the electronic medicine book for pigs (eMB-Pigs) now available for all UK pig producers to enable accurate recording of on-farm antibiotic usage data at the April PVS meeting. For those unable to attend this meeting, it is important to be aware of this development and Mark’s presentation is on the PVS website in the 2016 Spring Meeting section. It is very clear that antimicrobial use in pigs is under particular scrutiny and provision of usage data to the eMB-Pigs is an important first step to obtain information and evidence on which to base further initiatives to ensure responsible AM use. As such, the PVS supports this development and recommends that practitioners encourage their clients to register and engage with eMB-Pigs. A good feature of the eMB-Pigs is that it allows several methods for data entry, including uploading existing spreadsheets to avoid duplication of effort.

At present, only total antibiotic sales data for pigs and poultry are available, which does not give an accurate picture of pig-specific use. AHDB Pork and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) have developed the eMB-Pigs website, which is also supported by Northern Ireland and the Scottish and Welsh levy bodies. The web-based system provides a consistent format for data collection and the reports for premises will be accessible by the producer and authorised individuals (ie the attending vet).

The longer-term plan is that eMB-Pigs will help individual producers and their vets to compare their on-farm usage with anonymised data from other similar units, to help them review their approach to antibiotic use and make management changes to reduce production costs. It will also be able to provide an anonymised, aggregated national record of total antibiotic usage for the VMD and this data will be expressed in a form that is comparable with other EU Countries. Further information is available on:

To date, since the April 2016 launch, 120 pig keepers have registered and 101 returns have been entered which is a very positive initial response. AHDB Pork is working with the largest producers to assist them in providing their data.


National Pig Association Pig Industry Antibiotic Stewardship Programme

In a bid to promote and demonstrate responsible use of antibiotics in pigs, the National Pig Association is introducing the Pig Industry Antibiotic Stewardship Programme and is working with the Pig Veterinary Society, industry levy body AHDB Pork, and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, to progress its initiatives. The first goal of the Stewardship Programme is to collect both quantitative and qualitative data on current use of antibiotics in pigs through pig keepers using the industry’s online electronic medicines book, described above. More information is given in the attached leaflet. The Pig Veterinary Society backs the NPA in their recommendation that producers use the e-Medicines book to record their antimicrobial use. The Society’s veterinary practitioner members must ensure that the health and welfare of the pigs they attend is protected, whilst using antimicrobials responsibly. Pig Veterinary Society members are committed to working with pig producers to advise on, and implement, on-farm initiatives and interventions which help improve pig health and reduce antimicrobial use, as outlined in the overall aims being promoted by NPA.


Susanna Williamson - Pig Veterinary Society President

Mark White and Grace Webster - Pig Veterinary Society Medicines Subgroup