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Veterinarians increasingly turn to probiotics for animal health and nutrition

As stewards of the use of antibiotics in animals, veterinarians are turning to new tools to keep animals healthy. Increased understanding of probiotics and better documentation on their beneficial effects has led veterinarians, animal nutritionists and farmers alike to use probiotics as a natural way to support healthy livestock.

Changes in regulation regarding the use of antibiotics for livestock, as well as an increased global understanding of the threat of antimicrobial resistance, has created a need for change in farming practices. 

“Antibiotics are still a necessary medicine for livestock as much as for humans. However, the agricultural industry has come far since the days antibiotics were used as growth promoters. Probiotics have played a role in this shift and provide veterinarians, animal nutritionists and livestock owners with a natural way to support a healthy digestive and immune system,” explains Ian Hands, senior global product manager, Chr. Hansen Animal Health & Nutrition and a qualified veterinarian himself.

However, as meat production rises – as much as doubling in some countries – so does the use of antibiotics in animal farming in absolute numbers.

World Health Organization: World Antibiotic Awareness Week

When it comes to livestock, veterinarians are at the forefront of the fight against antimicrobial resistance, adopting new practices for antibiotic use in animal farming.

“We know from our close relationships within the industry that veterinarians are actively looking for and adopting new alternatives to increase biosecurity and health status of herds and flocks without resorting to antibiotics,” adds Hands. 

Animal protein producers face the double challenge of increasing production and providing nutritious food items to a growing human population, while at the same time reducing the use of antibiotics in the animals being raised for this purpose.

How probiotics can help your livestock and your business

Probiotics are a live microbial feed supplement which can improve intestinal microbial balance (Fuller 1989). Whereas antibiotics can treat diseases, probiotics are a way to support healthy intestinal and immune functions before a disease takes hold.

“Using probiotics in feed has shown to be beneficial for supporting a healthy digestion and the immune system, leading to a reduction in mortality rates, increased growth and overall increase in animal performance.”

But not all probiotics are the same. Choosing the right microbial strains for the right animal and for the desired effect is crucial. Chr. Hansen has supplied live probiotic bacterial solutions to the livestock production industry since the initial introduction of those tools to the market. 

“Our strains and products are the outcome of rigorous science-based research and their benefits are among the best proven and documented in the industry. We have probiotic solutions for swine, poultry, dairy cattle and beef cattle,” concludes Hands. 

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