Antimicrobial use practices, attitudes and responsibilities in UK farm animal veterinary surgeons

Coyne, LA ORCID: 0000-0001-7945-6729
(2018) Antimicrobial use practices, attitudes and responsibilities in UK farm animal veterinary surgeons. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 161. 115 - 126.

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Increasing levels of antimicrobial resistance in human and veterinary medicine have raised concerns around the issue of overprescribing and the indiscriminate use of antimicrobials. Their use in food producing animals is under scrutiny due to the perceived risk from the zoonotic transfer of resistant pathogens from animals to humans. This study aimed to explore UK veterinary surgeons antimicrobial prescribing behaviours, their attitudes to antimicrobial resistance and their perceptions of responsibility of antimicrobial use in pigs through a questionnaire study on a census sample of 261 veterinary surgeons in England, Wales and Scotland who had a clinical caseload which included commercial pigs. The questionnaire had a useable response rate of 34.1% (n = 61/179) in eligible veterinary surgeons. Overall, veterinary surgeons reported personal confidence that their prescribing decisions were responsible however, there was concern that the prescribing behaviours of other veterinary surgeons and physicians in human medicine may be less responsible; a sociological concept known as ‘othering’. In parallel, veterinary surgeons seldom identified that treatment failure was a consequence of antimicrobial resistance in their own clinical caseload, however they considered it an issue for other veterinary surgeons and for human prescribers. Veterinary surgeons consulted a wide spectrum of resources on antimicrobial use in pigs which, on occasion, contained conflicting guidance on what was defined as responsible prescribing. The decision over whether or not to prescribe an antimicrobial was influenced by numerous factors relating to the veterinary surgeons’ experience and the clinical situation presented, but maintaining pig welfare was a high priority. There was a shared desire to seek alternative methods to prevent disease to antimicrobial use, however the use of diagnostics to support prescribing decisions was an infrequently reported behaviour and could play a more significant role in prescriber decisions if more cost effective and rapid tests were available. Future interventions to optimise antimicrobial use in pigs needs to focus on the evolution of antimicrobial use practices in a changing political and scientific landscape whilst also considering individual motivations and justifications for use.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance, Antimicrobial, Antibiotic, Prescribing, Farm animal, Behaviour
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2018 10:08
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2022 05:47
DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2018.10.021
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