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College articulate position on antimicrobial resistance

October 18, 2017

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the key areas which demonstrates the impact of veterinary medicine on both animal and human health.

The Council of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario has been demonstrating its commitment to veterinary stewardship and the responsible use of antimicrobials in animals for several years. At a recent meeting, Council clearly articulated its position on antimicrobial resistance in a new policy document.

“The new Position Statement, Veterinary Stewardship of the Responsible Use of Antimicrobial Drugs in Animals, will help the public and veterinarians understand the College’s opinion on the use of antimicrobials,” said College President Dr. Marc Marin. “Veterinarians have the right to prescribe and dispense drugs, a privilege that is afforded to a small number of professions. The College expects veterinarians to assume a leadership role in understanding the need for antimicrobial oversight, the existing government directives, the evolving science related to pharmaceuticals, and the most appropriate current use of antimicrobial drugs.”

Resistance to antimicrobial drugs is increasing as a result of their use in medicine, human and animal. The veterinary profession has a duty to act as stewards with respect to the prudent and responsible use of antimicrobial drugs.

The position statement states that a veterinarian may only prescribe antimicrobial drugs within a veterinarian-client-patient relationship and where clinical evidence demonstrates medical need. It is important for veterinarians to be attentive to the risks and benefits associated with antimicrobial use.

Council has demonstrated leadership in this important area of veterinary medicine with two research projects relating to food animal medicine; participation in the development of national veterinary standards related to antimicrobial use; working with the province to consider dispensing options for certain species; and developing standards on prescribing and dispensing.

The College will continue to serve the public in partnership with provincial, national and international organizations to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

The College supports quality and safety in the delivery of veterinary medicine in Ontario.  The College licenses approximately 4,600 veterinarians and accredits over 2,300 facilities in Ontario.