The antibiotic treatment has been approved for use in post-weaning piglets, under different names, in the US and Canada, according to company information.
However, the in-feed treatment, avilamycin, employs an antibiotic in a class not used by humans, said Kerry Keffaber, DVM and advisor for veterinary medicine and practice at Elanco. And is part of an effort to address ongoing concerns about the use of antibiotics in animal production and the potential for the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
“This is focused on working to meet a need that was seen out there and hopefully will be of value,” he told FeedNavigator.
“What we’re most concerned about is the shared classes used in both human and in animals and resistance concerns,” said Keffaber. “These animal-only classes have some value to protect animals’ health and welfare and reduce the shared use.”
The treatment’s mode of action helps prevent bacteria from attaching and developing in the piglet, said Keffaber. So it is most effective if started prior to the display of symptoms.
That need makes the relationship between the producer and a veterinarian important, he said because a veterinarian with a history of a farm and the challenges seen there would be able to say that it was an appropriate treatment.
“And, in the US this will require a veterinary feed directive (VFD) so the vet will write that order,” he said.
The treatment can be fed for 21-42 days based on veterinary assessment and used in piglets up to 14 weeks of age, according to company information.
In efficacy trials done in 2011 on the treatment with 800 pigs, there was a 31.2% improvement in diarrhea instances when the product was used with piglets in a facility with a history of E.coli, said Amanda Kephart, director of US swine brands with Elanco. When piglets were checked for diarrhea scores and then given the product the severity score saw a 50.6% improvement.
Diarrhea challenges caused by E.coli can damage herd health and performance as it is a threat when piglets are most vulnerable, according to company information
The products, Kavault or Surmax 200, are currently approved both in the US and Canada, said Kephart. And, all products put forward by the company are assessed for global potential no further information about potential future markets is being released at this time.