AVMA supports collection of data on antimicrobial use, House approves other policy changes

The AVMA House of Delegates, meeting Jan. 7-8 in Chicago, approved a new policy supporting the collection of antimicrobial use data to help combat drug resistance.

Delegates approved the new policy, “Support for the Collection of Antimicrobial Use Data for Antimicrobial Stewardship,” along with other policy changes during the regular winter session of the HOD.

In a reference committee meeting, Dr. Hunter Lang, delegate for the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, said the policy on collection of antimicrobial use data is a good first step in addressing concerns over drug resistance.

Dr. Rex Anderson speaks at the AVMA House of Delegates' regular winter session in Chicago
Dr. Rex Anderson, AVMA House Advisory Committee chair, speaks at the AVMA House of Delegates’ regular winter session in Chicago. Delegates approved the new policy “Support for the Collection of Antimicrobial Use Data for Antimicrobial Stewardship,” along with other policy changes. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Dr. Karen Grogan, alternate delegate for the American Association of Avian Pathologists, said her organization is strongly in support of the resolution as well. She said: “We as a poultry industry are collecting this data, but it would be good to have all species collected. It (the policy) would also help us coordinate efforts across federal agencies, industry groups, and the profession as a whole.”

The AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials developed the policy, which according to the background materials, “describes best practices for collecting this (antimicrobial use) data, what should be considered during its analysis, and how the data might be used to inform and advance veterinary clinical decision making.”

Dr. Michael Costin is an assistant director in the AVMA Division of Animal and Public Health and provides staff support for the CoA. He said the policy was created, among other things, to give the Association more clear direction on this topic.

“One reason the CoA developed the policy is we did not have a policy that touched on antimicrobial data collection,” he said. “There are a lot of discussions starting to happen on how this type of data can be gathered, how it should be used, and who should be the gatekeeper, and for the AVMA to participate in discussions, we needed to know how AVMA membership felt.”

The CoA submitted a paper for publication in JAVMA that provides additional background on the policy. The paper is under review and is anticipated to be published in coming months.

“That will further explain the CoA’s thoughts on why the policy is needed and further expand on what might need to happen next,” Dr. Costin said.

The HOD also approved revisions to the policies on “Rabies” and “Annual Rabies Vaccination Waiver.” The AVMA Council on Public Health recommended revising the rabies policy to, in part, emphasize that rabies infection is almost invariably fatal, and that vaccination of animals is a critical step in preventing infection and protecting public health.

The council recommended revising the policy on vaccination waivers to support communication to clients that unvaccinated animals are at risk of rabies infection if an exposure occurs and to convey that euthanasia of the animal may be required under certain conditions of exposure.

The HOD approved a recommendation from the AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee to restructure the policy on “Food Safety” regarding foods of animal origin, partly by incorporating the policy on “U.S.-Banned Drugs Used by Exporting Countries.”

The HOD referred revisions of the policy on “Guidelines for Classifying Veterinary Facilities” to the AVMA Board of Directors for additional consideration. The House Advisory Committee and other HOD members raised various questions about the proposed definitions of terms such as clinic, hospital, and center.

See all of the resolutions that went before the HOD.

A version of this article appears in the Feb. 15, 2022, print issue of JAVMA.