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CVMBS Experts Contribute to Guidelines for Antimicrobial Use in Veterinary Medicine
Preventing antimicrobial resistance - an issue long discussed in human health circles - is receiving a groundbreaking, updated perspective thanks to recommendations put forth by a group veterinarians led by experts from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine appointed eight specialists to critically review antimicrobial drug use in veterinary medicine. The group developed a unique document to address moral and ethical issues about drug use in veterinary medicine and provide veterinarians with detailed strategies for appropriate antimicrobial drug use. The document is published in the recent edition of the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
"The ACVIM showed great foresight and leadership in sponsoring this initiative," said Dr. Paul Morley, an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and chair of the ACVIM committee. "I hope that other veterinary organizations and the larger medical community will review and build upon this effort."
Antibiotics used to treat animal patients may alleviate suffering and may prevent the spread of illness, yet the use of antibiotics also may promote resistance, an occurrence that is counter to promoting societal well-being. This, Dr. Morley said, presents a difficult challenge for veterinarians.
"It might seem relatively simple to place equal emphasis on all of these needs and obligations in a veterinarian's daily life," Morley said. "Yet, veterinarians may be forced to prioritize one of these obligations over another when making day-to-day decisions about antimicrobial drug use. We strongly believe that veterinarians need to use antimicrobial drugs to treat and prevent infectious diseases in animals. At the same time, we also believe - just as strongly - that veterinarians are obligated to balance this against the well-being and health of people."
The bulk of the recommendations from the committee are voluntary. However, the special committee does recommend that laws be revised so that antimicrobial drugs used to treat animals are restricted for use by a veterinarian or on their explicit order.
In developing this consensus statement, the committee studied the veterinary profession's role in limiting bacteria's developing resistance to antimicrobial drugs, as well as how medical strategies that are believed to increase or decrease the incidence of resistance relate to production, disease prevention and therapeutic practices used for animals. This led to making recommendations that veterinarians develop standardized antimicrobial drug use recommendations tailored for use in their practices, and the development of formal infection control plans.
For the complete recommendations put forth by this group, visit the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine at www.acvim.org.