The extensive use and misuse of antibiotics in the livestock sector is one of the main drivers of the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Although small-scale farms constitute most of the livestock production in low and middle-income countries, knowledge and use of antibiotics among these populations is sparse. We conducted 201 questionnaires to estimate the use and knowledge of antibiotics by small-scale farmers located in the coastal area of the Lima region of Peru. Our results show that farmers had a small number of livestock (e.g. average of 11 cows, 7 pigs and 19 chickens per farm) and 80 % earned less than minimum wage. More than half of farmers reported at least one episode of respiratory disease, diarrhea, mastitis, skin lesion or post-parturition infection in their animals during the previous year, and 40 % of these episodes were treated with antibiotics. Farmers reported using 14 different antibiotics, most commonly oxytetracycline (31 % of episodes treated with antibiotics), penicillin (21 %), gentamicin (19 %) and trimethoprim-sulfamethazine (18 %). The third-generation cephalosporin ceftiofur was occasionally used to treat mastitis. Most farmers relied on veterinarians to prescribe (95 % of respondents) and administer (59 %) antibiotics. Only half of farmers knew what micro-organisms can be treated with antibiotics and the degree of knowledge of antibiotics (based on a 5-question metric) was positively correlated with respondents’ educational level, monthly income, knowledge of the animal health authority, farm area, number of cows and knowledge of an antiparasitic drug. In contrast, knowledge of antibiotics was not correlated with respondents’ age, gender, main occupation, knowledge of a veterinarian or household size. Potential misuse of antibiotics was reported, including 21 % of framers reporting stopping the treatment when clinical signs disappear and infrequent use of antibiotics to treat parasites or animals not eating. Our study highlights poor knowledge and potential misuse of antibiotics among small-scale farmers in coastal Peru, but high reliance on veterinarians for prescription and administration. Strengthening farmers' relationships with veterinarians and improving the diagnostic capacity of the veterinary sector could result in more judicious antibiotic use on these farms.
- Latin America
- Low and middle income country
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Animals
- Animal Science and Zoology