Funded by the Petplan Charitable Trust, this project aims to identify and promote effective and practical antimicrobial stewardship interventions for widespread adoption in veterinary practice.

Challenge       

UK veterinary surveillance networks, including VetCompass and SAVSNET, have shown persistently high prescribing rates of antimicrobials to cats and dogs over the last ten years. The BVA, BSAVA, and FECAVA have all recognised high prescribing rates of antimicrobials as potentially promoting antimicrobial resistance in animals and have produced guidelines to define and promote responsible antimicrobial prescribing. Recent qualitative studies have sought to understand the factors influencing decisions by veterinarians in general practice to prescribe an antimicrobial by exploring attitudes to prescribing among clinicians and pet owners. These results have highlighted issues related to low awareness of formal antimicrobial prescribing guidelines; complex trade-offs between clinical, owner, and stewardship concerns; limited time among practitioners; and limited buy-in of stewardship interventions within clinics. Antimicrobial stewardship aims to promote antimicrobial prescribing behaviours that will preserve their longer-term effectiveness within the context of the individual patient, their owner, and the veterinary professional. Recent efforts to assess the influence of stewardship interventions on changing prescribing behaviours have shown that some change is possible. However, there remains a need to establish scalable and evidence-based interventions for widespread adoption, especially interventions designed around the realities of first-opinion clinical practice.

Solution      

This study aims to identify and promote effective antimicrobial stewardship interventions in UK first-opinion companion animal practice. Our objectives are to benchmark current antimicrobial usage in dogs and cats, develop and implement a range of antimicrobial stewardship interventions, evaluate the impact of these interventions, and promote widespread adoption of the most effective interventions across the UK.

Impact      

Maintaining antimicrobial effectiveness is essential to protect the long-term health and welfare of companion animals. Providing practical, affordable, evidence-based interventions will promote the uptake of antimicrobial stewardship programs within first-opinion clinics.

Partners      

Pets at Home Vet Group, Petplan Charitable Trust

 

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