9 out of 10 vets worried about inability to treat infections in face of antimicrobial resistance threat - Veterinary Practice
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9 out of 10 vets worried about inability to treat infections in face of antimicrobial resistance threat

A lack of understanding about the threat of antimicrobial resistance has been highlighted in recent survey

Prescribing pressure from clients and the inability to treat infections as a result of antimicrobial resistance have been revealed as huge concerns for vets in companion animal practice across the UK.

Figures from BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, released ahead of European Antibiotic Awareness Day (18 November) and World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18 to 24 November), show that 9 in 10 (92 percent) companion animal vets are worried about the inability to treat infections in the face of this global threat, while 77 percent are concerned about the inability to control surgical infections.

The survey also highlights a general lack of understanding about the threat of antimicrobial resistance among pet owners, with 76 percent of companion animal vets saying they feel clients are not aware about this issue. Almost all (99 percent) companion animal vets say they have seen clients come to appointments, at least sometimes, with an expectation that they’ll be given antibiotics to treat their pets.

These statistics coincide with the announcement today (18 November) of the launch of the Responsible Use of Medicines in Animals (RUMA) Companion Animal and Equine Alliance, which incorporates the equivalent of the RUMA Targets Task Force. The Measures and Targets group is chaired by BVA Past President Daniella Dos Santos. Their aim is to be able to effectively measure use in the Companion Animal and Equine sectors and ultimately share targets, while the Alliance will share best practice and guidance to help achieve those targets.

BVA President Justine Shotton said:

“Antimicrobials are critical tools in our ability to treat both humans and animals effectively. Worryingly, as in human medicine, there is growing concern about resistance to existing drugs when it comes to treating pets.

“We are rightly proud of the huge amount of work that has already been done by vets working with farmers, industry and government to steward responsible antimicrobial use within the livestock sectors. We’ve also seen encouraging results from similar initiatives within companion animal medicine to date but recognise the need for a more concerted and coordinated effort to champion ways to reduce and refine antimicrobial use in this sector. The new RUMA Task Force is a welcome move towards this goal.

“It’s also important for us to have conversations with clients on how they can help keep antibiotics working against serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses now and in the future. 

“I’d encourage all small animal veterinary practices to download our 7-point-plan poster to see what steps you can take to champion responsible antimicrobial use.”

BVA’s poster, which sets out seven steps that both small animal and farm vet practices can take to use antimicrobials responsibly, is available for download on the BVA website.

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