Global veterinary profession teams up against antimicrobial resistance

Published on December 06, 2018

Joint statement outlines steps to support stewardship

Antimicrobial resistance doesn’t recognize borders, and efforts to combat it need to cross borders as well.

Because of that, the AVMA has joined with veterinary organizations in Europe and Canada to issue a joint statement that aims to ensure veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use, mitigation of antimicrobial resistance, and the continuing availability of medications that are critical for both animal and human health.

The Joint Statement on Continuous Monitoring of Antimicrobial Use and Antimicrobial Resistance was announced today by the AVMA, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE). It broadly describes strategies that can be taken around the world to preserve the effectiveness and availability of antimicrobial drugs, and safeguard animal health and welfare, public health, and the environment.

Some of the recommendations in the joint statement include:

  • Veterinarians must retain access to effective antimicrobials for therapeutic purposes for animals suffering from a bacterial disease. Therefore, antimicrobials must not be unilaterally limited for use in humans only.
  • Medically or critically important antimicrobials should only be administered to animals with the oversight of a licensed veterinarian.
  • Record keeping is essential at the patient or practice level to evaluate antimicrobial treatments.
  • In addition to evaluating individual cases, there also is a need to monitor the overall use of antimicrobials in both food-producing and companion animals.
  • A robust global network should be established for surveillance and monitoring of antimicrobial use and resistance. Antimicrobial use should be monitored both in animal and human health, and resistance should be monitored in animals, people, food products and the environment.
  • Easily accessible, effective, rapid and standardized diagnostic tests should be available for susceptibility testing. Results should be available to facilitate evidence-based decisions about antimicrobials.
  • Sufficient funding should be available for further research and development of rapid and affordable diagnostic tests.

As indicated in the statement, the AVMA, CVMA and FVE commit to continuing our leadership in promoting antimicrobial stewardship worldwide. The statement also calls on members of all three organizations, as well as other veterinary professionals and animal owners and caretakers, to engage actively and contribute to data collection on antimicrobial use in animal health, and on the occurrence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

“This joint statement is an important step in recognizing ways we can work together to prevent resistance and ensure that antimicrobials continue to be used judiciously in animals,” said AVMA’s president, Dr. John de Jong. We encourage all members and other veterinary professionals to read the full statement.

Because veterinarians need to play a central role in fighting antimicrobial resistance, the AVMA recently released new tools to help our members be active in this campaign. We have refreshed and reorganized the antimicrobial resources on our website to make them easier to use, and we’ve added new information that supports veterinarians in conscientious decision-making and stewardship. We’re also developing more tools to support this work, including a checklist to guide veterinarians in implementing stewardship programs in your workplace or practice.

All of the AVMA’s resources to assist you with antimicrobial stewardship can be found at avma.org/antimicrobials.

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