Transdisciplinary approaches to addressing factors that influence antimicrobial use in dairy cattle: A scoping review

Jennifer Cole*, Amtul Noor Mughal, Mahmoud Eltholth, Abin Thomas, Mark Holmes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Interest in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) associated with livestock farming is increasing. During the 1990s, 30-40 academic papers a year on the use of antibiotics in dairy farming were indexed on the scientific database PubMed, but this has grown to more than 200 a year in the 2020s. Most (85%) of these papers are published in veterinary or livestock science journals. There has been a corresponding increase in social science interest in why responsible antibiotic stewardship in the livestock sector is so challenging. However, most social science insights are published in journals specific to the lead authors' field(s), missing opportunities for knowledge translation to veterinary and animal science. This threatens to inhibit the transdisciplinary One Health approaches required to tackle the problem. Between 1 June and 31 December 2021, we undertook a scoping review of papers on the use of antibiotics in dairy farming indexed in PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science. Our aim was to identify studies that incorporate social science approaches and methodologies, and to note the main field of the journal in which these studies are published. Papers were most likely to be published in veterinary science, dairy science and/or livestock science journals (61, 29 and 18 respectively out of 127 papers) and were most likely to be concerned with antibiotic use, prescribing practice, and/or diagnosis (94%, 39% and 33% of included papers respectively). Only 27% of papers meeting our inclusion criteria included a qualitative approach to understanding reasons for antibiotic use. Even fewer acknowledged underlying drivers of behaviour, whereas such reasons are frequently highlighted in social science literature. Thus, to address the global health threat from antibiotic resistance, more work is needed to bring together the disparate but equally valid disciplines, methodologies and researchers working on antibiotic use in the livestock sector.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25550
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Early online date8 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2024


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