Antimicrobial agents are useful for control of bacterial infections in food animals and man. Their prudent use in these animals is important to control any possible development and transfer of resistance between animals and man. The objective of this study was to generate quantitative information to evaluate antimicrobial usage patterns by animal species, route of administration, antimicrobial class and type of use from 1995 to 1999 in Kenya. Theses data are essential for risk analysis and planning and can be helpful in interpreting resistance surveillance data, and evaluating the effectiveness of prudent use efforts and antimicrobial resistance mitigation strategies. Data on quantities of active substance classes were collected from the official records of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of the Ministry of Health and analysed in MS Excel 2000 program. The mean antimicrobial consumption for the 5-year period was 14594 +/- 1457 kg per year. This was distributed in the various antimicrobial classes as follows: 7975 kg (54.65%) of tetracyclines, 3103.96 kg (21.27%) of sulfonamides and 954.5 kg (6.56%) of aminoglycosides, 905 kg (6.20%) of beta -lactams, 94 kg (0.64%) of quinolones, 35 kg (0.24%) of macrolides and 24 kg (0.16%) of others (tiamulin). Mean consumption per year among the various food animals was: 10989 +/- 357 kg in large animals (cattle, sheep, pigs and goats), 2906 +/- 127 kg in poultry alone and 699 +/- 427 kg in both large animals and poultry. These quantities represented 56.56% (8255 kg) consumption per year for parenteral use, 41.79% (6098 kg) for oral use and 1.65% (241 kg) for topical use (intramammary and eye ointments) in cattle. With respect to intended use in food producing animals, the mean consumption per year was: 13178 kg (90.30%) for therapeutic use (ST), 4 kg (0.03%) for prophylactic treatment (PT) and 1411 +/- 246 kg (9.67%) was used both for therapeutic and prophylactic purposes (GPT). The study confirmed that antimicrobials are not used for growth promotion in Kenya. There was no specific trend in the quantities of active antimicrobial classes. This study has revealed that the tetracyclines, sulfonamides and trimethoprim, nitrofurans aminoglycosides, P-lactams and the quinolones are the most commonly used drugs in food-producing animals in Kenya. Tetracyclines contributed approximately 55% of the total consumption, and there was an increasing trend in the consumption of quinolones from 1998.