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A Nuffield Scholarship leads to a Public Health England award for reduced antibiotic use in agriculture.

A Nuffield Scholarship leads to a Public Health England award for reduced antibiotic use in agriculture.

Pruex have been commended by Public Health England for an Antibiotic Guardian Award within the Animal Health, Agriculture and Food Supply section.

The awards took place on the 27th of June 2019, at the St Johns Hotel, Solihull, Birmingham and are a way of championing those organisations and individuals who have demonstrated achievement in tackling antimicrobial resistance at a local, regional or national level.

 Aled Rhys Davies of Pruex being presented his antibiotic guardian award by Dr Diane Ashiru, Lead Pharmacist, Antimicrobial Resistance Programme - Public Health England, Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Vet, and Claire Hughes, Head of Corporate Affairs at AB Agri, the company that kindly sponsored the category.

“I’m absolutely delighted for this recognition. We look to inspire positive change in agriculture by showing farmers what they can do to limit the risk of bacterial infections on farm.” said Aled Rhys Davies who founded Pruex as a result of conducting a Nuffield Farming Scholarship sponsored by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society looking at Alternatives to Antibiotics in Agriculture. He travelled to countries in Europe, Australasia and Northern America looking at antibiotics use amongst the fish, pig, poultry, dairy, beef and sheep sectors.

 

“To win the battle against Anti Microbial Resistance(AMR), we need to be innovative, and our farmers, the public and our establishment need an open mind.”

My journey began on the………Ninth of October 2014, I was concentrating in an attempt to understand the accent of a professor from Bonn University during the 4th International Fresenius Conference on European Union animal feed legislation, in Cologne, Germany when my phone started bouncing and vibrating loudly on the desk in front of me. I had received a text for my wife. It read, in Welsh, our native tongue, “You’ve had the scholarship”. I fumbled a reply, conscious that everybody in the spacious auditorium had heard my so called silent message arrive, and as a consequence all had one eye on my activities. “I don’t know, I haven’t heard anything yet”. Another aggressive, vibrating interruption soon followed, “No, you’ve had the scholarship, there’s a letter here from the Chairman of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust, saying that you have been awarded a scholarship to study Alternatives to Antibiotics in Agriculture.This second text got all of my attention. I replied without thinking, “fantastic, speak later.x” My heart started racing, I was experiencing a mixture of emotions including total joy, excitement, relief and panic. Then a third text, again from my wife congratulating me on my achievement, at which point my heart nearly melted.

By the time I got home the Nuffield letter was stuck to our fridge by one of my nine year old daughters’ ladybird shaped magnets. This was usually the domain of her latest work of art, ensuring that any visitor to our kitchen would have a great view of her masterpiece. I knew then that she approved. My twelve year old boy simply winked at me. What more could a father ask for? There is simply no greater honour. A deep sense of pride and responsibility followed when I learned that my sponsor was the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, (RWAS). I will always be grateful to the Society for investing in my scholarship and am determined to lead agriculture in the fight against AMR.

I studied the use of antibiotics in the fish, pig, poultry, dairy, beef and sheep sectors throughout Europe, Australasia and Northern America. I learned that all sectors faced bacterial infections of livestock, and most animals were sick, not necessarily clinically unwell, but infected nevertheless. What was shocking was the realisation that our husbandry and hygiene practices at best maintained disease as opposed to preventing its’ occurrence. As farmers, we have taken animals out of nature and put them in buildings. We haven’t been good at taking nature with them. So, the air they breathe is dominated with faecal bacteria, as is the water they drink and the feed they consume. Antibiotics have allowed us to do this. In the wild the animals would be surrounded by soil bacteria that wouldn’t make them sick. In our buildings they’re surrounded by faecal bacteria that can infect them. I realised that the human race needs to innovate to enable healthy animals to thrive as opposed to enabling the generation of markets for new medicines developed with the aim of treating symptoms. We simply need to get at the source of problems. In other words, we need to introduce more nature into our modern farming practices.

As a direct result of conducting my RWAS sponsored Nuffield study, I set up Pruex Ltd, which stands for Prudent as opposed to Excessive antibiotic use, with the aim of leading the fight against AMR. We use innovative technologies to limit the threat of micro organism infections of livestock. Our work is split into three categories, Find, Fix and Tell.

Find - We visit farms to take swabs in order to gain a value of the extent of contamination within the animals’ direct environment. We test the air, water and bedding so that we know which colonies of bacteria the animals are facing.

Fix - Based on the evidence generated within the Find process, we devise hygiene plans using bacteria to clean. The bacteria we use are soil borne and are added to water and bedding. We do the opposite to what farmers do when they take slurry out to their fields. After some three weeks, the soil flora will have overcome the faecal bacterial loading within the slurry. We put soil bacteria in the animals’ environment without adding dirt. The bacteria we use become dominant, so the animals are surrounded by non infected bacteria whilst housed.

Tell - We communicate the good work done in agriculture to limit the need for antibiotics with consumers.

The aim of this innovative process is to limit the need for antibiotics. Healthy animals don’t need antibiotics. We had no idea at the start that there would be such large increases in production as a result of reducing the burden of infective bacteria on our food producing animals.

Pride is the main emotion driving Pruex. We are delighted with the results we’re achieving on farm. Andrew Brewer milks 700 Autumn calving cows on a once a day milking system in Cornwall. The cows are bedded on a deep litter of sawdust and access forage from a self feed clamp. We’re delighted to report that there were no cases of calf scour or pneumonia during last years’ calving season, the farm has reduced antibiotic treatment for mastitis by over 70% and has seen a 40% reduction in bedding cost.

James Ford produces quality free range eggs in the Vale of Glamorgan. His hens were challenged by Necrotic Enteritis, and would soon relapse post antibiotic treatment. Post the use of Pruex, the hens recovered and production increased from 7% below egg laying targets to 10% above.

Joint Ill was a Problem managed by antibiotics at Mathew Isaac’s farm in Glamorgan. No cases have been reported nor treated with antibiotics in the last two years since the farm have adopted Pruex hygiene principals.

Based on the research and development conducted over the last two years of commercial activity, Pruex has some very economically taxing farm diseases within its focus. Digital Dermatitis, Tuberculosis and Johnes disease in cattle, the human food poisoning issues associated with Campylobacter as well as human allergies are all issues being studied and modulated.

Personally, Pruex has enabled, via a  sponsorship package that includes the supply of hand washing stations at the Royal Welsh show ground, me to repay the society the money they provided as sponsorship of my Nuffield Scholarship. The work conducted by Pruex, as a result of that study is inspiring positive change in agriculture. At the time of writing, we have worked with over six hundred farms to reduce their need for antibiotics.

 

Aled Rhys Davies NSch

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Pruex shortlisted by Public Health England for an #AntibioticGuardian Award

Pruex shortlisted by Public Health England for an #AntibioticGuardian Award

Pruex have been shortlisted by Public Health England for an Antibiotic Guardian Award within the Animal Health, Agriculture and Food Supply section. 

The awards are set to take place on the 27th of June 2019, at the St Johns Hotel, Solihull, Birmingham and are a way of championing those organisations and individuals who have demonstrated achievement in tackling antimicrobial resistance at a local, regional or national level.

 

“I’m absolutely delighted for this recognition. We look to inspire positive change in agriculture by showing farmers what they can do to limit the risk of bacterial infections on farm.” said Aled Rhys Davies who founded Pruex as a result of conducting a Nuffield Farming Scholarship sponsored by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society looking at Alternatives to Antibiotics in Agriculture. He travelled to countries in Europe, Australasia and Northern America looking at antibiotics use amongst the fish, pig, poultry, dairy, beef and sheep sectors. 

 

Aled found that within all sectors, animals don’t live in sterile environments, and are surrounded by bacteria. The need for food and the resulting post second world war intensification of agriculture has resulted in animals being taken out of their natural environments, surrounded by non-infective soil bacteria, to be housed in buildings where the bacterial colonies that dominate are faecal, biofilm forming and often pathogenic despite disinfection. Historic antibiotic administration, ranging from prophylactic to curative doses, has enabled farmers to maintain production and mortality at acceptable levels. With pressure building on all users to limit antibiotic use, farmers need a way of reducing the bacterial pressures their livestock face. Pruex uses non-infective soil borne bacteria to clean the water and the housed environments of food producing animals in order to reduce the need for antibiotics. Over the last two years, Pruex has enabled over 600 farms to use antibiotics prudently as opposed to excessively. 

 

Antibiotic Guardian was developed in 2014 by Public Health England. The campaign is led by Public Health England (PHE) in collaboration with the Devolved Administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland); the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and professional bodies/ organisations towards the ‘One Health’ initiative.

 

The campaign is active on social media, visit https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AntibioticGuardian&src=typd to follow recent tweets and please use #AntibioticGuardian when tweeting relevant antimicrobial resistance/stewardship information and to share your local activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reducing the need for antibiotics in a Cow & Calf dairy unit

Reducing the need for antibiotics in a Cow & Calf dairy unit

Ensuring that animals get clean water that's not dominated by infection causing bacteria is essential in the fight against disease and majorly influences the need to treat sick animals with antibiotics. 

Disease instances such as mastitis, foul of the foot, calf scour and pneumonia have all reduced significantly on this Scottish dairy unit since they have applied Pruex protocols with the aim of ensuring; Dry bedding, clean air, feet and water.

David Finlay discusses what they have observed since they have worked with Pruex with the objective of reducing the environmental challenge their animals face from disease causing agents.

 

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Managing reductions in the risk of Joint Ill and Watery Mouth

Managing reductions in the risk of Joint Ill and Watery Mouth

  

Two years ago Mathew Isaac started using the Pruex protocol to try and reduce 'Joint Ill and Watery Mouth'........How did they achieve this???

As a result Joint Ill was not a problem for young lambs. This significantly reduced the use of antibiotics within the flock from an already low level.

They have repeated the Pruex protocol this year and are spraying the bedding with AHS daily and using the Water Plus to treat the water. This year Mathew has seen a significant reduction in antibiotic use and no 'Joint Ill'.

Samples taken, as illustrated above, show a single E.coli colony (bright pink), within the bedding, probably originating from ewe faeces, and no e.coli growing on the ewes face. The plate labelled 'Land drain Water' shows both good bacteria and bad bacteria, the purple e.coli and the turquoise streps obviously coming from sheep droppings within the water pipes. These droppings are removed daily and there is a commitment to raising the level at which the pipes are situated to prevent this problem.

Watery mouth and Joint Ill can be the result of bacterial contaminations within water and bedding. Pruex work with farmers to reduce the risk of infection from disease causing bacteria, therefore, reducing the need for antibiotic treatment.

Mathew hasn't had watery mouth or Joint Ill as a result of his good management and Pruex protocols (apart from one lamb that failed to receive colostrum. Over a thousand ewes lambed).

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Necrotic enteritis in Free Range laying hens

Necrotic enteritis in Free Range  laying hens

Necrotic enteritis in laying hens. Chickens are usually affected either around 25 weeks of age, or around the beginning of egg laying, or during peak egg laying.

The farmer featured in this video didn't want to continue administrating antibiotics to his struggling flock. He wanted to get at the cause of the problem instead of treating symptoms. He discusses how he has worked with Pruex to attempt to solve his problems. He comments on the results he has experienced by doing so.

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What good stockmen want

What good stockmen want

You know that if you care for cows that you'll need to keep them healthy or treat them from time to time. So, you'll have to be able to handle them. There are many types of handling systems available, but, ultimately, cattle don't like to be individually handled and can become distressed in the process. 

 

Cattle like to feel safe so that they can chew their cudd.

What stockmen want is for their cattle to feel safe enough whilst being handled to chew their cudd.

Dr. Don Finlay, a practising vet from Australia has the solution. He, and his team, have observed, studied and worked with cattle to develop a simple system to calm handled cattle down whilst they are being attended to by humans. 

This is exactly what good stockmen want.

 

 

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Can we reduce stress on cattle and reduce the risk of injury to those handling them?

Can we reduce stress on cattle and reduce the risk of injury to those handling them?

Cattle that need treatment and are restrained can get stressed and agitated and become a risk to those handling them. This can limit production. Even in a crush or held at a feed barrier, the stress levels on the animal can be damaging, and they never volunteer to stand totally still for examination or treatment. So, Veterinarian Don Finlay has brought a divide to the market that can reduce stress and helps the animal volunteer to be examined and handled for treatment, including painful treatments that require pain relief.

The concept - The cattle chew on the oral distraction device. This distracts and cools them down. It reduces stress on them and reduces the risk of injury to the people performing husbandry.

 

Oral distraction of cattle is a new and exciting way to simply reduce panic hormones by calming cattle making them steady whilst they are individually handled. THIS DOES NOT INVOLVE ELECTRIC SHOCK TECHNOLOGY. 

  • Keep your staff safe during cattle handling procedures
  • Cattle get stressed during mustering for handling
    • Calm them down during procedures
  • Can be used to calm cattle to enable pain management application
    • A flustered beast is harder to administer local anaesthetic blocks accurately (Cornual block, Paravertebral blocks, or Peterson eye block)
      • Calm your cattle ahead of pain relief 
    • You don't want any contamination or tissue damage to occur during the first stage TB test, so keep your cows calm and steady by oral distraction
      • Give your vet the best chance to avoid animal and staff stress during TB testing.
  • Make it safer for staff to examine cattle restrained by self locking yolks (Barriers) 

The Science bit

 

Example of use. A bull that is nervous, stressed and flighty whilst in the crush is calmed down and distracted by an Easy Boss E. He cools down and starts to chew in a way similar to when he chews his cudd. He allows the vet to measure his scrotum during a fertility audit.

 

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Video showing - Cleaning up the water we give animals to reduce the need for antibiotics

Video showing - Cleaning up the water we give animals to reduce the need for antibiotics

Providing Clean water for animals is a basic husbandry requirement. BUT, it is very difficult to achieve. Bacteria from faeces contaminate water systems and use carbohydrates and mineral in the water to make biofilm.(Slime). This builds in the troughs, bowls and nipple drinkers, buckets and within water pipes. This increases the risk of infection and the need for antibiotics.

Pruex use “Water Plus” to remove biofilm, reducing the risk of bacterial infections and limit the need for antibiotics.

Healthy animals from healthy water.

 

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Reducing the risk of Watery Mouth and Joint Ill

Reducing the risk of Watery Mouth and Joint Ill

Shepherds have often wondered why typically only one lamb from twins gets watery mouth. Work done by Pruex has identified biofilm on the ewes face as being problematic for the first lamb born. E.Coli from the ewes face being transferred to the lambs mouth during the process of the ewe licking dry the lamb. The second lamb born typically doesn’t receive as much attention as the first as the ewe has to protect/care for the first born whilst it finds it’s feet. The first born will attempt to suck the ewes face as she licks it. The second lamb has less opportunity to infect its digestive system with E.Coli from the ewes face.

Pruex have devised a 5 point plan to help reduce the risk of lambs getting watery mouth. It’s featured in the video below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Using the transition period to invest in cow health for the next lactation

Using the transition period to invest in cow health for the next lactation

The national mastitis plan concludes that clinical infections within the first 30 to 60 days of lactation can be contributed to infections originating from the dry period or calving pen.

Having an environment that is non infective during this crucial period is vital for cow recovery and calf health post calving. We all know the importance of colostrum management, but sometimes our focus on water quality for cows, and dry bedding can slip often due to sheer stock pressure.

Many spring block calving herds in the British and Irish Isles are dry in December and January. This is however a vital time to ensure cow and calf health come calving time.

In this video, Cornishman Andrew Brewer, who milks around 700 cows on a low cost, once a day system discusses how he has worked with Pruex to help solve some of the issues he was facing that were a drain on financial resources and increased his costs significantly. By concentrating on improving the environment his cows are housed in during the winter, he has seen bedding and animal health costs reduce. He has achieved in excess of a 70% reduction in antibiotic use for mastitis since focusing on his animals' environment. Fantastic Andrew. Well done the team at Ennis Barton Farm.

 

 

 

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