ACVIM Consensus Statement on Therapeutic Antimicrobial Use in Animals and Antimicrobial Resistance

The ACVIM Consensus Statements are excellent reviews of topics of great importance to practicing veterinarians. The concern over antibiotic resistance and the emergence of new bacterial strains and classes of antibiotics, can at times seem overwhelming. The authors of this review provide a realistic and evidenced based approach to these topics. We all use antibiotics everyday though we often don’t spend as much time thinking about the ramifications of their use and how indiscriminate use may adversely affect our patients and ourselves.

Development of antimicrobials was one of the landmark achievements in medicine. Availability of effective antimicrobial therapy has had a profound impact on human and animal health, improved human and animal welfare, and fostered production of safe and economical production of food. Antimicrobial therapy has allowed for medical advances such as surgery and chemotherapy that would otherwise be impossible, and without these drugs, human and veterinary medicine would bear little resemblance to their current states. However, as warned by Sir Alexander Fleming in his Nobel Prize address, use of antimicrobials can, and will, lead to resistance. While warnings of the end of the “antibiotic era” might be excessive, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses important challenges and has resulted in tremendous impacts on human and animal health, and the economics of both medicine and agriculture.

Concern has been expressed about the use, and perceived overuse, of antimicrobials in animals and the consequences for animal and human health, just as there are concerns about antimicrobial use and AMR in humans. This highly contentious and complex area will not be easily resolved, but it is clear that there is a need for improved antimicrobial use practices in veterinary medicine, human medicine and animal production, to reduce the prevalence and implications of AMR. While it is important to engage other sectors, it is equally important for veterinarians to focus on areas where they can have the most direct impact, that being antimicrobial use in animals. In 2005, the first ACVIM consensus statement on antimicrobial therapy was published.

The principles put forth in that statement still apply. However, new issues continue to arise and knowledge continues to advance, giving rise to the need to expand on those principles. Accordingly, the objective of this consensus statement was to provide guidance on the therapeutic use of antimicrobials in animals, balancing the need for effective therapy and minimizing development and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from animals and humans.

Read/download the full ACVIM statement: ACVIM CONSENSUS


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