Antibiotics have been beneficial for human and animal health. However, an excessive use in livestock and a deficient management of the carcasses can lead to adverse effects in the scavengers that ingest them, especially in “supplementary feeding sites” (SFS). The aim of this study was to assess the potential risk of exposure to antibiotics for an endangered population of Cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) from southeastern Portugal. Hence, a multi-residue method based on QuEChERs was adapted and validated to analyse, in small volumes of tissues, the most frequent antibiotics used in livestock. The method was applied to 87 samples of liver, muscle and kidney from 7 goats and 25 sheep disposed in SFS. According to questionnaires to farmers, the animals had not been treated with antibiotics, but analyses showed residues in 29% of the samples. Antibiotics were more frequent in goats (42.9%) than in sheep (24.2%), and oxytetracycline and trimethoprim were the most common (both 13.8%). Oxytetracycline, the most common antibiotic for livestock in Portugal, showed the highest concentration (1452.68 ng g−1). To our knowledge, this is the first study of presence of antibiotics in carrion from SFS. The concentrations of antibiotics in carrion do not seem to pose a risk of acute intoxication for adult Cinereous vultures. However, subtle and likely chronic exposure with unknown health consequences may occur, which requires more research. Moreover, the results of this first study can be used in future studies to assess the risk for avian scavengers.
Science of the Total Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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