12. Rodent Antibiotics
Information on use of antimicrobials was obtained from five rodent breeders/distributors. Routine use of antimicrobials was documented in four facilities in which they were used for prevention of nonspecific rodent enteritis. Delivery of antimicrobial agents in drinking water occurred at weaning, before transport, and/or on arrival at the pet distributor. One pet distributor exclusively used rodent feed containing tetracycline.
An Arkansas small rodent breeder was routinely using both spectinomycin and another unknown antibiotic for animals that appeared stressed and/or had “wet tail” (non-specific enteritis). The Iowa distributor linked to the original human outbreak administered spectinomycin for 3 days to all rodents upon arrival at the facilities. It was also given for 3 days prior to shipment. The Minnesota distributor did not use antimicrobials prophylactically, and unlike all the other surveyed breeders and distributors, worked closely with a veterinarian. The Georgia distributor fed modified pig feedcontaining tetracycline to all of their animals.