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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Antimicrobial Drug Use in Veterinary Medicine

Authors
item Morley, Paul - COLORADO STATE UNIV
item Apley, Michael - IOWA STATE UNIV
item Besser, Thomas - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV
item Burney, Derek - GULF COAST VET SPECIALIST
item Cray, Paula
item Papich, Mark - NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV
item Traub-Dargatz, Josie - COLORADO STATE UNIV
item Weese, J Scott - UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH

Submitted to: Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2005
Publication Date: July 1, 2005
Citation: Morley, P.S., Apley, M.D., Besser, T.E., Burney, D.P., Cray, P.J., Papich, M.G., Traub-Dargatz, J.L., Weese, J. 2005. Antimicrobial drug use in veterinary medicine. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. V. 19. P. 617-629

Interpretive Summary: Antimicrobial drugs are among the most important tools available to modern medicine. Few advancements have had as significant an impact on human and veterinary medicine during the previous century as the development of antimicrobial drugs for prevention and treatment of bacterial diseases. Antimicrobial drugs are used throughout the world in animals, humans, and plants to treat and prevent bacterial infections, and also to improve production efficiency in food producing animals. However, the development of resistance to antimicrobials has become a global concern. The extent to which antimicrobial resistance currently impacts the health of humans and animals is not known, but there is increasing global pressure to develop strategies to protect the effectiveness of antimicrobials by reducing selection pressure driving emerging resistance in bacteria. This paper describes the position of a group of experts regarding antimicrobial drug use in veterinary medicine, specifically addressing antimicrobial drug use in animals for treatment and prevention of disease. Two major recommendations are identified: 1) that voluntary, not regulatory, actions be taken by the veterinary profession to promote conservative use of antimicrobial drugs whenever possible in order to minimize development of resistance as well as the potential adverse effects on animal or human health, and 2) to require a veterinary prescription for the sale of all antimicrobial drugs for use in animals. This information is critical for scientists, commodity groups, government regulators, and animal industry personnel to develop sound antimicrobial use guidelines as a means to reduce the development of antimicrobial resistance as a result of food animal use.

Technical Abstract: Antimicrobial drugs are among the most important tools available to modern medicine. Few advancements have had as significant an impact on human and veterinary medicine during the previous century as the development of antimicrobial drugs for prevention and treatment of bacterial diseases. Antimicrobial drugs are used throughout the world in animals, humans, and plants to treat and prevent bacterial infections, and also to improve production efficiency in food producing animals. However, it is widely recognized that variability in susceptibility among bacterial populations to certain antimicrobial drugs has become a major factor affecting the successful treatment of infectious diseases. The extent to which antimicrobial resistance currently impacts the health of humans and animals is not known, but there is increasing global pressure to develop strategies to protect the effectiveness of antimicrobials by reducing selection pressure driving emerging resistance in bacteria. While all uses of antimicrobial drugs are under review, a significant portion has focused on antimicrobial use in animals. This is because of the perceived importance of zoonotic transmission of pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria to humans through direct contact with animals, indirectly through contact with the animals' environments, or through the food chain. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) recognizes the importance of judicious use of antimicrobial drugs in order to preserve the drugs' effectiveness. Thus, the ACVIM recognizes the need for veterinarians to contribute to efforts intended to maintain the usefulness of antimicrobial drugs in animals and humans, and specifically to help assure that the use of antimicrobial drugs in veterinary medicine minimally impacts public health in a negative manner. This paper describes the position of a group of experts regarding antimicrobial drug use in veterinary medicine, specifically addressing antimicrobial drug use in animals for treatment and prevention of disease. The group recommends that voluntary, not regulatory, actions be taken by the veterinary profession to promote conservative use of antimicrobial drugs whenever it is possible in order to minimize the potential adverse effects on animal or human health. A further recommendation is that it is appropriate to require a veterinary prescription for the sale of all antimicrobial drugs for use in animals.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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