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Profession establishes agenda for veterinary stewardship of antibiotic use

December 04, 2017

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario (College) is committed to ongoing leadership of the veterinary action agenda concerning antibiotic use in food-producing animals.

“Veterinarians have a unique leadership role in helping to address the global problem of antimicrobial resistance. Ontario’s food-producing animal veterinarians are willing to serve as champions for change on a local level,” said Dr. Marc Marin, President of the College.

The College recently released its final report, “Setting an Action Agenda for Veterinary Stewardship of Antibiotic Use in Food-Producing Animals in Ontario,” which was completed with funding assistance through Growing Forward 2 (GF2). Through this second GF2 project studying antimicrobial resistance, the College continued to work with veterinarians and producers to review antibiotic use in food animals and establish a consensus on opportunities for lasting and meaningful changes in practice.

The first GF2 project identified more than 100 potential actions to impact the use of antibiotics. In the second project, food-producing animal veterinarians selected six specific priorities for action by veterinarians.

“The six priority initiatives are items veterinarians can champion, on a local level to minimize the development of antibiotic resistance,” said Marin.

These six priority initiatives include:

  • providing ongoing voluntary professional development opportunities for food-animal veterinarians regarding antibiotic use.
  • developing and/or updating, in collaboration with individual producers, standard operating procedures (SOPs) for appropriate antibiotic use.
  • promoting, across species, the implementation of farm-specific SOPs for appropriate antibiotic use.
  • developing an education program for producers on appropriate on-farm antibiotic use.
  • designing a strategy for the implementation of mandatory producer training on appropriate antibiotic use.
  • promoting the standardization of veterinary laboratory data and reporting that identifies changes in antibiotic resistance patterns.

“These priority initiatives clearly indicate the importance that food-producing animal veterinarians place on farm operating procedures, ongoing training for both veterinarians and producers, and noting trends in antibiotic resistance patterns. Building momentum to move these objectives and tactics forward in Ontario will be important,” said Marin.

The College is also pleased to announce the establishment of the Ontario Veterinary Leadership Collaborative on Antimicrobial Resistance which includes the College, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, and the Ontario Veterinary College.

Through this new collaborative, these four veterinary leadership organizations are committed to communication and promoting awareness of this important public health topic. The collaborative will be meeting soon to establish its priorities. The College’s final report will be sent to the collaborative for its consideration.

With increasing resistance to antimicrobials, it is imperative to develop a plan for sustainable change in use in animals and humans. The College supports Ontario veterinarians as leaders in the concept of One Health, which recognizes the health of people, animals and the ecosystem are all interconnected.

“The College appreciates the contributions of veterinarians and producers in shaping this action agenda. The College Council is proud to be a partner in the crusade against antibiotic resistance that is threatening human and animal health,” said Marin.

The College’s report, “Setting an Action Agenda for Veterinary Stewardship of Antibiotic Use in Food-Producing Animals in Ontario” can be found on the College’s website.

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.

Click here to watch a webinar presenting the report