Saturday is World Veterinary Day, an annual celebration coordinated by the World Veterinary Association and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to highlight the varied facets of veterinary work and the important contributions of veterinarians worldwide in improving animal health, animal welfare and public health.
The theme of World Veterinary Day 2017 is “Antimicrobial Resistance – from Awareness to Action,” and it couldn’t be a more timely choice, as awareness of antimicrobial resistance is expanding across the world.
The AVMA has long advocated for good antibiotic stewardship to ensure that medically important antibiotics remain effective as medicines for both human and animal use. As public concerns about antibiotic resistance have grown over the years, we have increased our efforts to ensure that veterinarians remain vigilant and retain our place among those whose responsibility it is to protect all of society when it comes to antimicrobial use.
How are we doing that? Here are some examples:
- Veterinary Feed Directive Tools: The new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rule that took effect this year expands the role of veterinarians in administering antibiotics to food animals by requiring veterinary involvement whenever food species are given medically important antibiotics in feed or drinking water. The AVMA has compiled a comprehensive library of resources that veterinarians can use to educate yourself about the Veterinary Feed Directive, including explanatory information about the rule, a downloadable VFD form and step-by-step instructions for filling out the form. Additionally our Honey Bees 101 reference gives you a quick-start to learn about beekeeping and honey bee medicine so you can prepare to establish a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship with clients who keep bee colonies. Backyard Chickens 101 offers a quick guide to urban poultry for small animal veterinarians.
- Client Education Materials: Everyone can play a role in reducing antibiotic resistance, including pet owners. But when you have a client who is convinced that a beloved pet needs antibiotics, it can be difficult to make them understand why a prescription isn’t always the answer. To help you navigate these difficult situations, the AVMA has created downloadable posters – one featuring a kitten and one with a dog (shown here) – that explain why your clients’ animals don’t need antibiotics for most ailments. The message: Talk to your veterinarian to determine if antibiotics are right for your pet’s illness. Available exclusively to AVMA members, the posters come in both full-color and black-and-white, so they’ll look good no matter what kind of printer you have.
- Veterinary Policy & Guidelines: AVMA professional policies provide guidance on the practice of veterinary medicine to veterinary professionals and other stakeholders. Guided by our Committee on Antimicrobials, the AVMA’s suite of policy guidance includes numerous policies related to antibiotic use and resistance, most notably the policy on Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials.
- Influencing Public Policy: The AVMA’s work to protect, promote and advance veterinary medicine includes regular collaboration with policymakers, and antibiotic stewardship is one of the issues at the forefront of those conversations. In fact, AVMA President Dr. Tom Meyer will address the topic in testimony next Friday, May 3, to the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. (The meeting will be streamed live, so anyone interested in watching Dr. Meyer speak can do so.) Additionally, just last month the AVMA weighed in on an FDA proposal regarding therapeutic administration of antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals.