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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2018, Article ID 1836836, 14 pages
Research Article

Drivers of Antimicrobial Use Practices among Tennessee Dairy Cattle Producers

1Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, 2407 River Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
2Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, 2407 River Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Chika C. Okafor; ude.ktu@hcrofako

Received 2 September 2018; Revised 29 November 2018; Accepted 13 December 2018; Published 27 December 2018

Academic Editor: Carlo Nebbia

Copyright © 2018 John E. Ekakoro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nonjudicious antimicrobial use (AMU) and inadequate antimicrobial stewardship are known modifiable factors driving the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). A mixed methods approach using a combination of focus groups and survey questionnaires was used to explore the AMU practices of Tennessee (TN) dairy cattle producers. Specifically, the objectives of the study were to determine the following: (1) the most common drivers for using antimicrobials, (2) perceived alternatives to antimicrobials, (3) knowledge of and perceptions regarding AMR, (4) and the appropriate avenues for receiving information on prudent AMU. Two focus groups were conducted, one in July 2017 and the other in March 2018. The questionnaire was simultaneously made available to participants both in print form and online from January 26, 2018, through May 11, 2018. Twenty-three dairy producers participated in the focus groups and 45 responded to the survey. Eight (18.6%) producers never used bacterial culture and sensitivity testing (C/S) to select antimicrobials, more than half (25 producers (58.1%)) sometimes used C/S, four (9.3%) used C/S about half the time, five (11.6%) most of the time, and one (2.3%) always used C/S. The most common drivers for using antimicrobials were disease and animal welfare, pathogen surveillance, economic factors, veterinarian recommendation, producer’s experience and judgment, drug attributes, and the Veterinary Feed Directive. Good management practices, vaccination, use of immunomodulatory products, and use of appropriate technology for early disease detection were considered alternatives to AMU. Four (9.1%) dairy producers were very concerned about AMR, 27 (61.4%) moderately concerned, and 10 (22.7%) not concerned. The veterinarian was considered to be a trusted source of information on prudent AMU. Use of C/S test results for antimicrobial selection is widespread among TN dairy producers. There is a need to popularize/promote selective dry cow therapy among TN dairy producers.