87 (1) pp 37

Rational antimicrobial therapy for sepsis in cattle in face of the new legislation on critically important antimicrobials

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition in cattle, as in humans. Successful sepsis treatment requiresa fast initiation of antimicrobial therapy with a broad-spectrum, bactericidal drug, administeredintravenously. However, the new legislation limits the use of critically important fluoroquinolonesand cephalosporins in food animal medicine, drugs which are considered highly effective for sepsistreatment and were previously frequently used for this indication. This article aims at providing anoverview of the current knowledge of sepsis in cattle to aid practitioners in adapting their decisionmaking process to treat sepsis. Sepsis incidence in cattle is likely seriously underestimated. Thisdisease is almost unexplored in cattle, which makes it particularly difficult to design species specificguidelines. Sepsis diagnosis by blood culture reaches sufficient accuracy with the current laboratorytechnology. When adapting this procedure to a field environment, difficulties might arise, andthe availability of adapted incubators in veterinary laboratories may be limited. However, thesedifficulties are likely to be overcome. Severe sepsis and septic shock are likely the only indicationswhere the ‘urgency’ criterion of the new legislation would apply, but it is important to realize thatalternative antimicrobial treatments with possibly similar efficacy are available.

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