Antimicrobials are the most commonly prescribed drugs in the swine industry. While antimicrobials are an effective treatment for serious bacterial infections, their use has been associated with major adverse effects on health. It has been shown that antimicrobials have substantial direct and indirect impacts on the swine gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota and their accompanying antimicrobial resistome. Antimicrobials have also been associated with a significant public health concern through selection of resistant opportunistic pathogens and increased emergence of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs). Since the mutualistic microbiota play a crucial role in host immune regulation and in providing colonization resistance against potential pathogens, the detrimental impacts of antimicrobial treatment on the microbiota structure and its metabolic activity may lead to further health complications later in life. In this review, we present an overview of antimicrobial use in the swine industry and their role in the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Additionally, we review our current understanding of GI microbiota and their role in swine health. Finally, we investigate the effects of antimicrobial administration on the swine GI microbiota and their accompanying antibiotic resistome. The presented data is crucial for the development of robust non-antibiotic alternative strategies to restore the GI microbiota functionality and guarantee effective continued use of antimicrobials in the livestock production system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)