Global Veterinary Organizations Issue Joint Statement on Antimicrobial Resistance

December 13, 2018
Amanda Carrozza

Amanda Carrozza is a freelance writer and editor in New Jersey.

The joint statement includes 14 recommendations for the continuous monitoring of antimicrobial use and resistance.

Following the FDA’s announcement in September that it was instituting a 5-year plan to fight antimicrobial resistance in veterinary settings, 3 leading global veterinary organizations have come together to issue a joint statement on the subject. These large-scale efforts are in addition to the many individual veterinarians and hospitals working to limit resistance in their daily practice.

The Joint Statement on Continuous Monitoring of Antimicrobial Use and Antimicrobial Resistance was adopted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and is a follow up to the organizations’ 2011 joint statement on Responsible and Judicious Use of Antimicrobials.

“The development of antimicrobials has contributed enormously to improving the health and welfare of people and animals throughout the world,” the statement reads. “However, any increase in antimicrobial resistance and spread of resistant bacteria poses a global threat to human and animal health.”

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As such, the joint statement goes on to describe 14 recommended strategies to preserve the effectiveness and availability of antimicrobial drugs, and to safeguard animal welfare, public health, and the environment. These include:

  • All countries shall have a robust regulatory system in place in respect to the authorization and manufacture of human and veterinary medicinal products, including antimicrobials.
  • Medically or critically important antimicrobials should only be administered to animals with the oversight of a licensed veterinarian.
  • Sufficient funding should be made available for further research and development of rapid and affordable diagnostic tests.
  • Veterinarians must retain access to effective antimicrobials for therapeutic purposes for animals suffering from a bacterial disease in order to safeguard animal health and welfare and public health. Therefore, antimicrobials must not be unilaterally limited for use in humans only.
  • The AVMA, CVMA, and FVE will call on all organizations working to address antimicrobial resistance at a global level—such as OIE, WHO, TATFAR, and others—to ensure that the organizations are always consulted.
  • The AVMA, CVMA, and FVE will collaborate in promoting responsible use of antimicrobials in animal production and animal care in all countries, and in particular, in the developing world.

Because the veterinary industry has a vested interest in fighting antimicrobial resistance, the organizations are calling for a One Health approach to the problem and continued communication between key players in both human and veterinary medicine. This echoes the FDA’s sentiments on the subject, which call for a closer look at how medically important antimicrobials are being used in human and animal health.

In February, the AVMA also issued its own antimicrobial policy for veterinarians as a “call to action” for the profession. Within the policy, the association called on veterinarians to commit to stewardship on a daily basis, use antimicrobial drugs judiciously, and work with clients to adopt preventive strategies to minimize the need for antimicrobial drugs.

According to Michael Whitehair, DVM, chair of the AVMA board of directors, the policy shows veterinarians’ commitment to their patients, clients, and the public.