Antimicrobial resistance in veterinary practice

“Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”
― Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons

“If we fail to address this problem quickly and comprehensively, antimicrobial resistance will make providing high-quality universal healthcare coverage more difficult if not impossible…It will undermine sustainable food production. And it will put the sustainable development goals in jeopardy.”Ban Ki-moon, outgoing UN Secretary General

 

its-complicated

 

Antimicrobial resistance is a critical issue for both human and animal health. As practitioners who are able to prescribe and dispense antibiotics, we (veterinarians) need to ensure that our practices are up to date and we are doing our best to limit the risk of antimicrobial resistance – not only for the sake of our patients, but also our clients and our staff. For too long have we put our use of antimicrobials as a side thought, reflecting that it would not be an issue in our realm of practice – a true tragedy of the commons.

In light of that, I feel the need to highlight that next week is Antibiotic awareness week – a week to raise awareness about the problem at hand, get up to speed on what our respective countries are doing, address our respective knowledge gaps and to develop solutions collectively. You might say it is a “One Health” issue (yes, cross-linking to earlier blogs is the “new black”).

The Australian Veterinarians in Public Health (a special interest group under the Australian Veterinary Association), a group I am proud to be a committee member of, is hosting its next webinar during Antibiotic Awareness Week on the 16th of November. The webinar will feature Dr. Laura Hardefeldt, a large animal internal medicine specialist, who is currently working on her PhD with the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship and The University of Melbourne. The aim of this webinar is to update veterinary practitioners about the mechanisms of resistance in bacteria, discuss how stewardship programs are being implemented internationally in veterinary practices and in agriculture, and some ideas of how stewardship could look within Australian veterinary practices.

This is a critical webinar for all veterinarians from all fields of practice. One hopes that such a webinar will inspire some veterinarians (if not all) to have an open discussion about the judicious use of antimicrobials in their respective clinics and help develop their own stewardship programs (1). Go on, sign up and bring on the new wave of awesome in Antimicrobial stewardship.

Register here: Australian Veterinary Association

Guy is a Director for Veterinary Careers – he secretly works in clinical veterinary practice (and his opinions are reflective of his own and not of his place of work), whilst completing his Masters in Veterinary Public Health. He enjoys the interface of clinical practice and case management whilst unleashing his VPH-nerdiness onto the unsuspecting public. 

1 – I fully appreciate that it’s not just veterinarians who need to be part of the solution and that there are other drivers that push resistance in microbes – and that will be the subject of a future 1 hour blog in due time. Needless to say, “it’s complicated”.

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