Driving new science to combat mastitis
New scientific breakthroughs, that are not focused on the use of antibiotics, are helping livestock farmers worldwide to proactively deal with the challenge of bacterial infections.
These new treatment options are providing production agriculture with a genuine response to the challenge of antibiotic resistance.
A case in point is the pioneering work carried out by the Dutch company AHV International. Company founder and veterinarian Gertjan Streefland takes up the story: “Antimicrobial resistance is not a new phenomenon. The plant kingdom has been dealing with this issue almost since the beginning of time. Fortunately, modern scientific research has succeeded in identifying how nature has successfully dealt with this problem. AHV was established to convert this science into practical solutions for livestock farmers, who are having to deal with the disease-related impact of bacterial infection on a regular basis.”
Streefland continued: “What we now know is that bacteria must gather together in groups in order to coordinate an action and have an impact on the host animal. To make this happen they must communicate with each other through a process called ‘quorum sensing’. In essence, individual bacteria emit signal molecules so as to make this grouping process come about. In response, AHV New Pharma solutions have been developed to disrupt this communication process, thereby abolishing the impact that pathogenic bacteria could have when entering a host animal.
“We also know that attacking bacteria produce a biofilm around their cells, which acts to prevent attacks by antibiotics and the animal’s own immune cells. The AHV New Pharma solutions range also acts to break down these biofilms and supports the cow’s natural immune system: because of this combined activity, invading pathogenic bacteria are more predisposed to attack by the host’s immune system. The end result is a process which directly impacts on the ability of pathogenic bacteria to cause disease without a reliance on antibiotics.”
Streefland was speaking to a group of Irish farming journalists, who recently visited AHV’s headquarters at Zwolle in the Netherlands. He continued: “The company’s track record in the Netherlands and a host of other countries around the world confirms the efficacy of the AHV New Pharma approach and its product range. Farmers are fully aware of the need to reduce their reliance on antibiotics. The challenge of anti-microbial resistance is now a key priority for health professionals, veterinarians and the public at large, given the recent emergence of pathogens that are now resistant to almost every antibiotic that is currently available.”
Last year saw the launch of AHV UK and Ireland. The business is located at Augher in Co Tyrone. Adam Robinson is the managing director of the new venture. He commented: “We have made tremendous progress over the past 12 months. Irish dairy farmers fully recognise the need to reduce their antibiotic usage on a voluntary basis.
“AHV is now an playing active role in making this happen with our New Pharma vision and the solutions that are the result of this unique approach. The growth in the business has been achieved on an all-island basis. This is strongly reflected in our decision to appoint a full-time member of staff, who will have responsibility in developing AHV’s foot print throughout the Munster area.”
Adam continued: “The AHV New Pharma product range comes in a mix of boluses and drenches. They comprise a combination of natural feed supplements. The treatments act specifically to restore the normal bacterial population balance in those parts of the host’s body that have become subject to pathogenic attack.”
He concluded: “We are working directly with farmers and vets to ensure that the principles enshrined within the AHV New Pharma solutions range are communicated to livestock producers in the most effective and meaningful ways possible.”
For further information, contact AHV - uK and ireland on (048) 8554 9600.