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August 01, 2020

Researchers to study drug resistance in high-risk cattle

Published on July 08, 2020

Researchers in Texas and Nebraska plan to study how drug-resistant pathogens spread among cattle and how to prevent infections. The project will focus on protecting the cattle at the highest risk.

Large herd of feedlot cattle


Kristin Hales, PhD, associate professor and chair in animal science in the Texas Tech University Department of Animal and Food Sciences, is leading the research. On April 23, the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded her a $1 million, five-year grant to investigate the emergence and ecology of antimicrobial resistance, NIFA information states.

A university announcement says Dr. Hales will work with partners at the University of Nebraska and USDA Agricultural Research Service. Together, they will try to identify how antimicrobial resistance develops and spreads among high-risk beef cattle, create strategies for metaphylactic antimicrobial use that reduces the spread of drug resistance among high-risk cattle, measure antimicrobial resistance among commensal and pathogenic bacteria in high-risk beef cattle, and help veterinarians and cattle nutritionists understand the potential dangers of antimicrobial resistance and how they can deliver the best cattle health advice.

Dr. Hales’ first goal is to identify strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance among feedlot cattle, and her second goal is to develop an alternative to administering tylosin phosphate to control liver abscesses, the announcement states.

“The expectation is that by identifying sources of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and reducing the amount of antimicrobials used in beef cattle, the potential spread of antimicrobial resistance can be reduced, therefore preserving antimicrobials for human and animal therapeutic uses, improving food safety and strengthening the food supply chain,” the announcement states.