People: David Brodbelt, Dan O'Neill, Richard Booth

DatesOctober 2019 – September 2023


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a public health problem. Responsible use of antimicrobials (AM) in animals is an important approach to reduce AMR. Antimicrobials are widely used in farm animal practices. The Veterinary Medicine Directorate (VMD) sales data, in 2016, reported that 337 tonnes of antimicrobials were sold for use in all animal species in the UK. Farm usage data are voluntarily reported to VMD. However these data covers a small sample of farms in the UK (VMD 2017). Hence, up to date AM usage data collected from practices across the UK are needed in order to gain a clearer picture of usage patterns.

Limited research has been conducted to investigate the qualitative factors that influence vets' decisions for the prescribing of antimicrobials. A previous study in the UK evaluated the intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting the decision making of antimicrobial usage in dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK (Mateus et al., 2014). In this study, several factors related to the veterinarian's experience, characteristics of the prescribed antimicrobial, owner's characteristics and animal characteristics have been identified as being associated with the antimicrobials prescribing decision. A small number of social science studies have been conducted to evaluate farmers' knowledge and attitudes towards AM responsible use. A previous study in North Carolina reported that limited finance and lack of time influenced dairy farmers decision making when using AM (Friedman et al., 2007).

The aims of this study are to estimate current AM usage in Farm Veterinary Practice and investigate the intrinsic factors and extrinsic factors associated with farm veterinarian decision-making when prescribing antimicrobials as well as exploring the drivers behind farmers' decision when using antimicrobials.

Aims of the project:

  • To estimate the prevalence of antimicrobial usage in farm animals.
  • To describe the clinical indications and demographics of farm animals receiving antimicrobials.
  • To evaluate risk factors associated with receiving antimicrobial treatment in farm animals.
  • To investigate the qualitative factors that influence the decision to prescribe antimicrobials and policymaking.    


FRIEDMAN, D. B., KANWAT, C. P., HEADRICK, M. L., PATTERSON, N. J., NEELY, J. C. & SMITH, L. U. (2007) Importance of Prudent Antibiotic Use on Dairy Farms in South Carolina: A Pilot Project on Farmers' Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices. Zoonoses and Public Health 54, 366-375

MATEUS, A. L. P., BRODBELT, D. C.,BARBER, N. & STÄRK, K. D. C. (2014) Qualitative study of factors associated with antimicrobial usage in seven small animal veterinary practices in the UK. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 117, 68-78

VMD (2017). UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance (UK-VARRS) report 2016.

Relevance of project: This project will give a better understanding of how antimicrobials are used in farm animals and their potential contribution to the public health problem of antimicrobial resistance.

Dates: October 2019 – September 2022 (3-year PhD project)

Funding bodies: Bloomsbury institutes

Vet Compass Project Type: Farm Animal

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