Antibiotics are commonly used in the poultry industry to treat bacterial infections. In the combat against bacterial resistance, policies require, besides a reduction of antibiotic usage in humans and animals, an up-to-date farmer registration mentioning all treatments. For enforcement of such policies, tests are needed to antedate administration and to determine the type of treatment so as to prevent off-label use and the supervacaneous use of last-resort antibiotics like cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. After poultry treatment, high amounts of enrofloxacin and its metabolite ciprofloxacin are deposited in chicken feathers. A method is presented to discriminate different treatments based on differentiating extractable and non-extractable enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin in chicken feathers. With this approach, we show it is possible to distinguish between a registered therapeutic oral treatment, an off-label spray treatment and an illegal prolonged sub-therapeutic treatment with enrofloxacin. This approach is a new and strong tool in the enforcement of new policies in the fight against off-label and supervacaneous antibiotic use.
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This research was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs under its statutory tasks (project number 124.73.148.01). We thank Maria Groot for her assistance in designing the animal study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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Jansen, L.J.M., Bolck, Y.J.C. & Berendsen, B.J.A. Feather segmentation to discriminate between different enrofloxacin treatments in order to monitor off-label use in the poultry sector. Anal Bioanal Chem 408, 495–502 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-015-9118-z