American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) published The Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines in companion animals. The document is designed to aid practicing veterinarians in choosing appropriate antimicrobial therapy to serve their patients best and minimize the development of antimicrobial resistance and other adverse effects. Along with the main document, many valuable resources guide veterinary teams in responsible antimicrobial usage, including infographics, smartphone apps, videos, short summaries, and articles.
AAHA and AAFP, in their position statement, urge companion animal veterinarians to follow the five core principles of antimicrobial stewardship as defined by the AVMA:
- Commit to stewardship,
- Advocate for a system of care to prevent common diseases,
- Select and use antimicrobial drugs judiciously,
- Evaluate antimicrobial drug use practices,
- Educate and build expertise.
Veterinarians agree to protect animal and public health when they pledge the Veterinarian’s Oath. It is the responsibility of veterinarians to maintain patient health through routine examinations, preventive strategies, and client education. When a medical condition exists, it is essential to obtain an accurate clinical diagnosis whenever possible, including determining the likelihood of a bacterial infection that warrants antimicrobial use. Once the decision is made to use antimicrobial therapy, veterinarians should strive to optimize therapeutic efficacy, minimize resistance to antimicrobials, and protect public and animal health.
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