Livestock Antibiotic Sustainability

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2024: $145,584.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2027
Grant Recipient: Crazy Mountain Veterinary Service, PLLC
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Katie Rein, DVM
Crazy Mountain Veterinary Service, PLLC


  • Animals: bovine
  • Animal Products: meat


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, therapeutics
  • Education and Training: decision support system, workshop

    Proposal abstract:

    Antibiotics are an important tool
    for livestock producers to manage herd health. Concerns about
    antibiotic resistance in humans and livestock continue to
    increase (ONeill, 2016)

    We hypothesize that many beef
    cattle producers are not necessarily selecting the most
    efficacious treatment protocol for some common veterinary medical
    disease processes. This proposal will investigate if livestock
    producers are selecting effective antibiotics to target specific
    pathogens. We propose that producer education can promote better
    outcomes in clinical cases by promoting judicious use of
    antibiotics which in turn will foster antibiotic

    Our project begins by surveying
    livestock producers and veterinary clinics to research current
    practices regarding antibiotic use on Montana ranches. The survey
    will be mixed-mode (online and paper-based). Survey responses
    will be analyzed and used to create a decision matrix for the top
    5 conditions producers treat. This information will be utilized
    in the following years of the project to lead educational
    sessions throughout the state. Our project’s expected outcome is
    to educate livestock producers to more specifically target
    pathogens with the appropriate antibiotic therapy. We believe
    that using the most appropriate therapy will reduce the overall
    amount of antibiotics being used. This will help reduce
    antimicrobial resistance in the animals being treated which has
    many positive consequences including improved animal health and
    public health (Bengtsson, 2014).

    We plan to cooperate with state
    and local producer groups across the state including local
    affiliates of the Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana
    Farm Bureau Federation to disseminate this information at
    in-person workshops. We will submit articles to producer
    publications and to state and local organizations for their
    newsletters. We will work with the Montana Veterinary Medical
    Association to distribute the results to veterinarians. Montana
    State University Extension agents will also be critical partners,
    particularly in the educational portion of the

    We expect to present this
    information at at least 20 workshops across the state. We plan to
    publish articles in 10 producer magazines or newsletters. We will
    cooperate with other groups such as Cattleman U, Western
    Sustainability Exchange, Northern Ag Network, and Western Ag
    Network to reach producers online and on the radio.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Research Objectives:

    Our overall research objective is
    to determine what antibiotics are most commonly used in Montana
    and what diseases are commonly treated. Then we will review
    published scientific literature for these diseases to create a
    decision matrix to guide more effective treatment

    Specific research objectives:

    1. Survey 10,000 livestock
      producers and 1000 veterinarians  in Montana to determine
      current practices concerning antibiotic use by written and
      online questionnaires. Our goal is at least a 5% response rate
      by August 2024. 
    2. Analyze survey responses to
      determine trends and statistical probabilities. 
    3. Compare and contrast survey
      responses to best practices. Develop best treatment practice
      recommendations for the top 5 veterinary medical problems based
      on survey results of conditions being treated, antibiotics
      commonly used, and scientific literature reviews. Create a
      decision matrix for each of the top 5 veterinary medical
      problems identified.

    Education objectives:

    1. Design educational curriculum
      and a handout based on results of our research objectives
      (survey responses and decision matrix). 
    2. Present to livestock producers
      at a minimum of 20 producer groups community
    3. Create and submit articles for
      producer publications based on survey results and educational
    4. Create content for social media
      posts and blogs. Collaborate with other organizations to
      disseminate the information on their established webinars,
      podcasts, and radio shows.
    5. Present research results at the
      Montana Veterinary Medical Association state meeting and
      publish a scientific journal article.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.