The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has launched a “simple and effective” eight-point plan for the responsible use of antimicrobials in veterinary practice.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has launched a “simple and effective” eight-point plan for the responsible use of antimicrobials in veterinary practice.

Antimicrobials are essential for the treatment and prevention of diseases in animals, but every use increases both the risk that resistance will develop and the potential for its transfer to man via food-borne pathogens. To protect animal and human health, and optimise food safety, antimicrobials should only be used when necessary and always responsibly.

Antimicrobials posterThe guideline plan, which is outlined in an easy-to-follow poster, ranges from reducing the need for antimicrobials in the first place and avoiding inappropriate use to selecting the correct antimicrobials to use, keeping accurate records and reporting suspected treatment failures to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

The posters will be distributed to BVA members inside The Veterinary Record and will be available to download from the BVA website. The launch coincides with European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2009 organised by European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The eight-point plan:

     1. Work with clients to avoid need for antimicrobials
     2. Avoid inappropriate use
     3. Choose the right drug for the right bug
     4. Monitor antimicrobial sensitivity
     5. Minimise prophylactic use
     6. Minimise use perioperatively
     7. Record and justify deviations from protocols
     8. Report suspected failure to the VMD

The new guidance supports the international “One World, One Health” message promoting awareness of the link between animal diseases and human health and the BVA is also working with the FVE (Federation of Veterinarians in Europe) on using the poster in other EU countries.

Peter Jones, chair of the BVA’s Medicines Group, said: “Antimicrobials are one of the most important classes of veterinary medicinal products that are available to us as veterinarians to ensure the health and welfare of animals under our care. It is therefore critical that we use these products responsibly to maintain their efficacy whilst minimising the development of resistance and the risk of transfer to man.

Bill Reilly“The use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine is often called into question and criticised. However, recent statistics from the VMD reveal that the use of antimicrobials is not increasing. This is good news but we must not be complacent, so the BVA is using this opportunity to raise awareness of the issue and provide clear and simple guidelines to vets.”

BVA president Bill Reilly said: “Antimicrobial resistance is an issue affecting both the medical and veterinary professions and one that the BVA takes very seriously. We hope that vets in all types of practice will put up the poster to serve as a constant reminder to them and their clients that responsible use of medicines is vitally important for the future of animal health.”

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