The purpose of this study was to set a benchmark for a monitoring and surveillance
programme on the volumes of antimicrobials available and consumed by animals for the
benefit of animal health in South Africa. This survey was collated from data available from
2002 to 2004. The authorised antimicrobials available in South Africa were firstly reviewed.
The majority of available antimicrobials were registered under the Stock Remedies Act 36 1947.
Secondly, volumes of antimicrobials consumed were then surveyed and it was found that
the majority of consumed antimicrobials were from the macrolide and pleuromutilin classes,
followed by the tetracycline class, the sulphonamide class and lastly the penicillin class.
Results showed that 68.5% of the antimicrobials surveyed were administered as in-feed
medications. 17.5% of the total volume of antimicrobials utilised were parenteral antimicrobials,
whereas antimicrobials for water medication constituted 12% of the total and ’other‘ dosage forms,
for example the topical and aural dosage forms, constituted 1.5% of the total. Intramammary
antimicrobials represented 0.04% of the total. The surveillance systems for veterinary
antimicrobials used by other countries were scrutinised and compared. It was concluded that
a combination of the surveillance systems applied by Australia and the United Kingdom is the
best model (with modifications) to apply to the animal health industry in South Africa. Such
a surveillance system, of the volumes of veterinary antimicrobials consumed, should ideally
be implemented in conjunction with a veterinary antimicrobial resistance surveillance and
monitoring programme. This will generate meaningful data that will contribute to the rational
administration of antimicrobials in order to preserve the efficacy of the existing antimicrobials
in South Africa.