Use of drugs and antibiotics in poultry production in Ghana

  • PK Turkson

Abstract

This study was designed to assess the extent of drug and antibiotic use in small and large commercial poultry producers in Ghana, and the extent of the knowledge, perceptions and practice of drug withdrawal period in
poultry production. In all, 483 poultry farmers in Greater Accra, Ashanti and Central regions were interviewed using a prepared questionnaire. The sources of knowledge of which drug to buy and proportions of farmers that used such sources were personal experience, 33.3 per cent (n=481); veterinarians, 21.4 per cent; veterinary technicians, 20.6 per cent; drug sellers or shops, 18.7 per cent; and other farmers, 6.0 per cent. The drugs used by respondents (excluding vitamins and mineral supplements) could broadly be classified as antibacterials (52.0%, n=1559), coccidiostats or coccidicidals (33.7%), and dewormers (14.3%). Among the antibacterials, the tetracyclines formed the largest class (35.7%, n=831), followed by the nitrofurans (23.1%), penicillinstreptomycin combinations (18%), and sulphonamides and sulphonamide combinations (8.3%). For the
coccidiostats, the largest group comprised drugs with sulphonamides or their combination (58.4%, n=539), followed by those with amprolium and amprolium combinations (39.1%). The dewormers were mainly of
two classes: those containing piperazine (50.7%, n=229) and those with levamisole (49.3%). When asked what they did with eggs when layers were under drug treatment, a significant proportion of respondents (91.1%, n=426) said they sold the eggs. When asked whether they had
heard the term “withdrawal period”, 47.4% (n=479) of the respondents replied in the affirmative. The mean (± SE) days given by respondents (who had heard the term) as the minimum length of the withdrawal period (WP) were 8±0.4 days (n=166) for broilers (range 0-28 days with median of 7 days) and 7±0.4 days (n=171) for eggs (range 0-26 days with median of 5 days). The reasons given for withdrawal period being unnecessary or
impracticable in Ghana were mainly economic or ignorance and lack of knowledge. The study brought out issues on withdrawal period and drug management practices that will help reduce or avoid residues in eggs
and meat, and need to be tackled seriously.
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