Antibiotic consumption is considered to be a main driver of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Mink breeding follows a distinctive seasonal reproduction cycle, and all of the mink produced in the northern hemisphere are bred, born, and pelted around the same time of year. Some
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Antibiotic consumption is considered to be a main driver of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Mink breeding follows a distinctive seasonal reproduction cycle, and all of the mink produced in the northern hemisphere are bred, born, and pelted around the same time of year. Some of the diseases are age-related, which is reflected in the seasonal variation of antibiotic consumption. The seasonality makes mink a good model for the investigation of the association between antibiotic consumption and resistance. The objectives of this study were (1) to monitor the farm level of antibiotic resistance during one production cycle and (2) to assess the potential associations between antibiotic consumption and resistance. Twenty-four farms were included in this study (Denmark n = 20, Iceland n = 2, and The Netherlands n = 2), following a cohort of animals born in 2018. Staphylococcus delphini
and Escherichia coli
were isolated from samples of the carcasses and faeces and were collected randomly. The isolates were susceptibility tested and subsequently divided into the sensitive wildtype (WT) and the resistant non-wildtype (NWT) populations. The antibiotic consumption relative to the sampling periods was assessed as having a short-term or a long-term impact, i.e., in two explanatory factors. For both S. delphini
and E. coli
, a large between-farm variation of NWT profiles was detected. In the final multivariable, generalized linear mixed models, significant associations between NWT isolates and the consumption of specific antibiotics were found: the short-term use of tetracyclines in the growth period was associated with the occurrence of tetracycline NWT E. coli
in the growth period (OR: 11.94 [1.78; 89.28]), and the long-term use of macrolide and tetracyclines was associated with the occurrence of erythromycin NWT S. delphini
in the weaning period (OR: 18.2 [2.26; 321.36]) and tetracycline NWT S. delphini
in the growth period (OR: 8.2 [1.27; 63.31]), respectively. Farms with zero consumption in the study years prior to sampling also had a substantial proportion of NWT isolates, indicating that NWT isolates are persistent and/or widely spread in the environment. Generally, a high occurrence of tetracycline NWTs was observed. NWT isolates with resistance against the most commonly used antibiotics were found on all the farms, stressing the need for routine surveillance and the prudent use of antibiotics. The results offer a preview of the complex relationship between consumption and resistance, demonstrating some significant associations between use and resistance. Moreover, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are present even on farms with no antibiotic consumption over extended periods, and theoretical explanations supported by the data are offered.