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Vets4Pets’ are rolling out a new initiative for reducing antibiotic use in small animal practices.  A toolkit has been developed that will be used in Vets4Pets and Companion Care surgeries throughout the UK.

The initiative follows the reduction of antibiotic use in the NHS and by livestock vets.  In line with these other practitioners, the initiative places emphasis on minimising antibiotic usage, and maintaining effective hygiene and appropriate disinfection.  The toolkit is broken down into four areas: antibiotic husbandry (careful, minimal usage), antibiotics reporting, hand hygiene and client education.

Antibiotic use has become a commonly known in human health care, as awareness has risen about antibiotic resistance and the development of bacteria such as MRSA.   Such resistance is more common in humans, but in 2016 a report on antimicrobial resistance was published by Jim O’Neill, which highlighted the risks involved in animal care, too.

The toolkit was developed by Pets4Vets’s clinical services team alongside its clinical advisory board, consisting of practising vets and nurses.  It is influenced by ideas from organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the BVA, the BMA and the Bella Moss Foundation.

Huw Stacey, who is the director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, stated “It’s taken nine months of development and refinement to finalise the STAR initiative, but now it’s being rolled out to more than 450 practices… Livestock vets have recorded a 30% reduction in antibiotic use with initiatives in their sectors, and we’ll be monitoring and reporting on antibiotic prescribing levels within our practices going forwards.”

Veterinary Medicine applicants may want to consider how this development in animal care might affect established practices, as well as how it exemplifies the need to be adaptable and respond to new research throughout your career.

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