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 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 products 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 product 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 at the launch of AHV International’s new headquarters for the UK and Ireland. The business is located at Augher in County Tyrone. Adam Robinson is the managing director heading up the new venture.
He explained: “The company’s track record in the Netherlands and a host of other countries around the world confirms the efficacy of the AHV 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.”
The AHV 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.
Adam Robinson concluded: “We are working directly with farmers and vets to ensure that the principles enshrined within the AHV product range are communicated to livestock producers in the most effective and meaningful ways possible.
“We will also have a major presence at this year’s Royal Ulster Winter Fair.
“All visitors will be made more than welcome on the stand.”