Integrated animal health management
Integrated animal health management can be defined as all the knowledge and practices used by the farmer and his or her network in a co-ordinated way to combine actions of prevention, disease resistance/tolerance and animal care. It aims to reduce the use of medicines (antimicrobial, antiparasitic, etc.) and to improve animal welfare on farms.
Integrated health management can be seen as an operational extension of ecopathology, which is more focused on the understanding of the multiple causes of disease. It’s a holistic approach to animal health. This approach does not replace animal care, where necessary.
In practice, integrated health management is based on the joint mobilisation of three complementary principles (Prevent, Resist/Tolerate and Treat) : (i) To prevent the onset of disease, prophylactic measures (hygiene, biosecurity, vaccination, etc.) and husbandry practices/choices (flooring, housing, environmental conditions, animal density, etc.) are actions that can be taken to avoid the contact with pathogens and prevent injury ; (ii) The selection of robust genotypes (local breeds, lines selected for disease resistance/tolerance and/or their crosses), the exposure of offspring to a rich and healthy microbiome, and the use of feeds and feeding strategies adapted to the nutritional and physiological needs of each individual are ways to promote the resistance and/or the tolerance of animals to the pathogens ; (iii) When disease occurs, animals should be treated selectively (with molecules specific to the pathogen(s), at recommended doses, only in affected individuals and for the duration of treatment determined by the veterinarian).
An initial phase of designing the farming system with animal health in mind, combined with the application of these three principles, contributes to reduce the use of medicinal inputs in animal husbandry.
References to explore
C. Ducrot, D. Fric, A.-C. Lalmanach, V. Monnet, P. Sanders, C. Schouler. 2017. Perspectives d’alternatives thérapeutiques antimicrobiennes aux antibiotiques en élevage. INRA Productions Animales 30(1), pp 77-88.
Le point vétérinaire 2016. Soigner autrement : trouver l’équilibre pour produire mieux. Le point vétérinaire, Numéro spécial, 47, 140p.
Ministère de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation. 2012. Plan national de réduction des risques d’antibiorésistance en médecine vétérinaire. Rapport 32p.
Organisation Mondiale de la Santé (OMS). 2015. Résistance aux antimicrobiens. Projet de plan d’action mondial pour combattre la résistance aux antimicrobiens . Rapport 20p. Document A68/20 de la 68ème Assemblée mondiale de la santé.