Treatment Practices and Quantification of Antimicrobial Drug Usage in Conventional and Organic Dairy Farms in Wisconsin

J Dairy Sci. 2007 Jan;90(1):249-61. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(07)72626-7.


The objective of this study was to develop a method to quantify antimicrobial drug usage and treatment practices on conventional and organic dairy farms that had been recruited to represent a broad spectrum of potential exposure to antimicrobial drugs. Data on disease prevalence and treatment practices of organic (n = 20) and conventional (n = 20) farms were obtained during a farm visit using a survey instrument. A standardized estimate of antimicrobial drug usage was developed using a defined daily dose (DDD) of selected compounds. Density of antimicrobial drug usage was expressed as the number of DDD per adult cow per year. Differences in prevalence and management of selected diseases between conventional and organic farms were identified. The overall estimated prevalence of selected diseases was greater for conventional farms compared with organic farms. Organic farmers reported use of a variety of nonantimicrobial compounds for treatment and prevention of disease. Conventional farmers reported that penicillin was the compound most commonly used for dry cow therapy and cephapirin was most commonly used for treatment of clinical mastitis. On conventional farms, the estimated overall exposure to antimicrobial drugs was 5.43 DDD per cow per year composed of 3.58 and 1.85 DDD of intramammary and parenteral antimicrobial drugs, respectively. Of total intramammary antimicrobial drug usage, treatment of clinical mastitis contributed 2.02 DDD compared with 1.56 DDD attributed to the use of dry cow therapy. Of total parenteral treatments, the distribution of exposure was 0.52 (dry cow therapy), 1.43 (clinical mastitis treatment), 0.39 (treatment of foot disease), 0.14 (treatment of respiratory disease), and 0.32 (treatment of metritis) DDD. For treatments of foot infections (0.33 DDD), respiratory infections (0.07 DDD), and metritis (0.19 DDD), the mean density of ceftiofur usage was significantly greater compared with other compounds.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Dairying / methods*
  • Endometritis / drug therapy
  • Endometritis / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / epidemiology
  • Foot Diseases / veterinary
  • Mastitis, Bovine / drug therapy
  • Mastitis, Bovine / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / veterinary
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wisconsin


  • Anti-Infective Agents