The BVA has launched a guidance poster containing “powerful messages” to vets to encourage the responsible use of anthelmintics in grazing animals, following ongoing concern about the development of resistance to these medicines.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has launched a guidance poster containing “powerful messages” to vets to encourage the responsible use of anthelmintics in grazing animals, following ongoing concern about the development of resistance to these medicines.

BVA anthelmintics posterAnthelmintics are used throughout the world for the treatment of worms and other endoparasites in sheep, cattle, goats and horses, as well as in companion animals, but misuse in grazing animals, leading to resistance, is an increasing problem, which has now become a serious threat to the health and welfare of the animals.

In response to growing concerns the BVA’s Medicines Group has produced a poster, to be distributed to BVA members inside the Veterinary Record and available to download from the BVA website.

The poster, accompanied by additional online guidance, clearly outlines Do’s and Don’ts in the use of anthelmintics and carries the strong message “Think Twice Before Prescribing Anthelmintics”. The poster is intended for display in veterinary practices as a reminder to vets and their clients of the need for responsible use of these medicinal products.

The poster carries advice on encouraging farm health planning and worming strategies, targeting the drug used to the parasite, the importance of not underdosing, quarantining incoming animals, and investigating and reporting suspected cases of resistance to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). It clearly tells vets not to treat unnecessarily and not to blanket treat.

Launching the poster, Peter Jones, chair of the BVA’s Medicines Group, said: “Every use of anthelmintics increases the risk of resistance developing. Veterinary surgeons have a duty to ensure anthelmintic use is judicious and limited to circumstances when treatment can be effective, targeted and based on sound veterinary diagnosis.

Peter Jones“The BVA advises all vets to work with their farming clients to develop a farm health plan that encompasses an effective worming strategy and a full grazing management programme to reduce the need for treatment.

“Vets must also promote good worming practice to ensure dosage is based on accurate weight measurements. Underdosing is a major factor in the development of resistance.”

BVA president Bill Reilly added: “Action to minimise the development of resistance is urgent and essential and we hope this poster will serve as a constant reminder to vets to think twice before prescribing anthelmintics.”

The launch of the poster follows the success and appreciation of the BVA’s 8-point plan for the responsible use of antimicrobials poster, launched in November, which was welcomed by many interested parties in the UK and by the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE). It is currently being considered for use in other European countries.

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