Macrolides and lincosamides in cattle and pigs: use and development of antimicrobial resistance

Vet J. 2014 May;200(2):230-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.02.028. Epub 2014 Feb 26.


Macrolides and lincosamides are important antibacterials for the treatment of many common infections in cattle and pigs. Products for in-feed medication with these compounds in combination with other antimicrobials are commonly used in Europe. Most recently approved injectable macrolides have very long elimination half-lives in both pigs and cattle, which allows once-only dosing regimens. Both in-feed medication and use of long-acting injections result in low concentrations of the active substance for prolonged periods, which causes concerns related to development of antimicrobial resistance. Acquired resistance to macrolides and lincosamides among food animal pathogens, including some zoonotic bacteria, has now emerged. A comparison of studies on the prevalence of resistance is difficult, since for many micro-organisms no agreed standards for susceptibility testing are available. With animal pathogens, the most dramatic increase in resistance has been seen in the genus Brachyspira. Resistance towards macrolides and lincosamides has also been detected in staphylococci isolated from pigs and streptococci from cattle. This article reviews the use of macrolides and lincosamides in cattle and pigs, as well as the development of resistance in target and some zoonotic pathogens. The focus of the review is on European conditions.

Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; Consumption; Food animal; Lincosamides; Macrolides.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Europe
  • Lincosamides / pharmacology*
  • Macrolides / pharmacology*
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Swine Diseases / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Lincosamides
  • Macrolides