Antimicrobials are critical for medicine, but the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effectiveness of these valuable drugs. In USA, there are no national- or state-level programs or policies in place to track antibiotic use (AU) in dogs, cats, and horses, despite acknowledgement of this sector's importance to both the AMR problem and its solution. AU measurement is a key part of antibiotic stewardship and AMR prevention. This study aimed to fill existing gaps in the veterinary professions' knowledge of antibiotic prescribing in small animals and horses. To address this aim, medical record data were collected on a single day per quarter for 1 year from 19 Minnesota and North Dakota small animal and equine practices, totaling 1,899 veterinarian consults of dogs, cats, and horses. Overall, 25.8% of all canine, feline, and equine consults involved an antibiotic prescription. Third-generation cephalosporins were the most commonly prescribed systemic antibiotic drug class, and the long-acting injectable drug, cefovecin, was the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for cats (34.5%). Topical antibiotic preparations were prescribed frequently, especially in dogs (42.5% of canine prescriptions), though systemic antibiotics were often prescribed concurrently. Common general indications, based on problem or diagnosis recorded in the medical record, for antibiotics in all species combined were skin conditions (24.4%), otitis (22.1%), ophthalmic (9.4%), gastrointestinal (8.3%), respiratory (8.3%), and urinary tract (7.6%) diseases. While 44.2% of patients for which antibiotics were prescribed had cytology performed, only 3.9% had bacterial culture and susceptibility performed. In a pre-study survey, veterinarians' recommendations for AU differed from actual prescribing, suggesting collection of AU data provides more accurate assessments of veterinary prescribing behaviour than surveys. This study shows feasibility of AU measurement in small animals and horses. The data collection tool and standard operating procedures described prove suitable for national AU data collection.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors sincerely thank the participants for their time and dedication to this research. The authors thank the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Emerging, Zoonotic, and Infectious Disease Signature Program for funding this research.
© 2022 The Authors. Zoonoses and Public Health published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.
- anti-bacterial agents
- antibiotic prophylaxis
- antimicrobial stewardship
- drug resistance
- public health
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't