Antimicrobial resistance threatens both public and animal health, and veterinarians are critical leaders in the fight to preserve the effectiveness of life-saving antimicrobial drugs. The AVMA on Tuesday proudly joined the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s year-long Antimicrobial Resistance Challenge, which aims to accelerate the worldwide battle against antimicrobial resistance.
Antimicrobial drugs are critical tools for fighting disease, and they must be used responsibly to assure their continued effectiveness. Who better to lead that charge than veterinarians? We protect both animal and public health in countless ways – from doing research that advances human medicine, to safeguarding the health of livestock and protecting our nation’s food supply, to vaccinating animals against rabies and other zoonotic diseases.
Veterinarians are the most important factor in responsible antimicrobial use in animals. The AVMA has long advocated for veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use in animals, and we offer resources to help veterinarians talk with clients about how and when these important drugs should be used.
In committing to the CDC challenge, we've made five promises:
- Continue collaborating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on veterinary oversight of antimicrobials
- Educate veterinarians and veterinary clients about antimicrobial stewardship, and provide guidance for implementing stewardship plans
- Assist with enhanced surveillance of antibiotic use in animals
- Promote research on infection control, responsible use of antimicrobials, and development of alternatives
- Engage with key international stakeholders to support antimicrobial stewardship
These efforts already are underway. The FDA’s recently released five-year plan to promote antimicrobial stewardship in veterinary settings builds on the AVMA’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Definition and Core Principles, and we look forward to working with the FDA as it continues talking with stakeholders. The AVMA has a wide range of policies to guide veterinarians and veterinary team members on the responsible use of antimicrobials, plus tools to simplify the writing of Veterinary Feed Directives (VFDs) and posters to educate companion-animal clients. Over the course of the coming months, here are a few other initiatives you can look for:
- AVMA Chief Economic Officer Dr. Matt Salois will give a presentation later this week at the New York Academy of Sciences on economic factors related to antimicrobial use in farm animals. His talk at the symposium on Minimizing the Risk of Antimicrobial Resistance from Food Animal Production will look at how antibiotic-free poultry/broiler production might affect animal health, the environment, and economic outcomes.
- Dr. Michael Costin, assistant director in the AVMA’s Division of Animal and Public Health, will participate in the OIE Global Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance next month, sharing with our global veterinary partners the resources we’ve developed to support antimicrobial stewardship and talking with them about their own efforts.
- Our Committee on Antimicrobials is developing a veterinary checklist to help guide veterinarians in implementing antimicrobial stewardship plans at the practice level.
- We’ll be refreshing and reorganizing our online resources on antimicrobial stewardship to make them easier to use.