Antimicrobial resistance: AVMA takes steps to address a critical health issue

Published on January 08, 2018


agriculture_feed_handAntimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance are hot issues in society right now, and protecting veterinarians’ access to these drugs that are critical to the health and welfare of their patients—while also serving the interests of public health—is a primary objective for the AVMA.

On January 6, the AVMA took significant steps to help the veterinary profession prevent antimicrobial resistance in both animals and people.

The AVMA House of Delegates approved the profession’s first-ever Definition of Antimicrobial Stewardship and Core Principles of Antimicrobial Stewardship in Veterinary Medicine. Their  adoption is an important first step in fulfillment of the association’s commitment to provide resources and tools for veterinarians that support conscientious decision-making in the use of antimicrobials. The core principles adopted by the AVMA on behalf of its members include:

  • A clearly stated commitment by veterinarians to stewardship;
  • Support for systems of care that include a multi-pronged approach to  preventing common diseases;
  • Judicious selection and use of antimicrobial drugs;
  • Ongoing evaluation of the efficacy of antimicrobial drug-use practices; and
  • A commitment to professional education research that expands the profession’s knowledge base and supports good decision-making.

The definition and core principles were developed by the AVMA’s Committee on Antimicrobials, made up of individuals representing a diverse array of veterinary organizational, species, and practice interests. The policy was subsequently reviewed and approved by the AVMA’s House of Delegates, which includes representation from all 50 states, the nation’s territories, and the AVMA’s allied veterinary associations. As such, veterinarians and other stakeholders can be confident that the policy represents the consensus of the veterinary profession.

In addition to providing guidance for the veterinary profession, the AVMA recognizes that only a One Health approach is likely to effectively mitigate the development of antimicrobial resistance. Those reviewing the AVMA’s new policy will see parallels between it and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship Programs,” which provide a similar framework for antibiotic stewardship for outpatient clinicians and facilities that routinely use antibiotics as part of their treatment paradigms in human medicine. By building on parallel goals, the AVMA and its Committee on Antimicrobials hope to encourage and support better collaboration between veterinary and human medicine. It’s important that we embrace shared values and build consensus on antimicrobial stewardship.

From here, the AVMA will collaborate with the association’s allied veterinary organizations in the creation of resources to help individual veterinarians best utilize the new policy as they develop their veterinary practice stewardship plans. Regular updates will be provided as these new tools are released.

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