The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has taken significant steps to help the veterinary profession prevent antimicrobial resistance in both animals and people.
The AVMA House of Delegates approved the profession's first-ever Definition of Antimicrobial Stewardship and Core Principles of Antimicrobial Stewardship in Veterinary Medicine. Their adoption is an important first step in fulfillment of the association's commitment to provide resources and tools for veterinarians that support conscientious decision-making in the use of antimicrobials. The core principles adopted by the AVMA on behalf of its members include:
- A clearly stated commitment by veterinarians to stewardship;
- Support for systems of care that include a multi-pronged approach to preventing common diseases;
- Judicious selection and use of antimicrobial drugs;
- Ongoing evaluation of the efficacy of antimicrobial drug-use practices; and
- A commitment to professional education research that expands the profession's knowledge base and supports good decision-making.
"Adherence to these core principles is key to preserving the effectiveness and availability of antibiotics," said Dr. Michael Topper, AVMA president. "However, the actions veterinarians will need to take to implement them go beyond the responsible use of antibiotics to improving disease prevention and treatment strategies overall. This further increases the value of their adoption for our patients and our clients."
The definition and core principles were developed by the AVMA's Committee on Antimicrobials, which comprises individuals representing a diverse array of veterinary organizational, species, and practice interests. The policy was subsequently reviewed and approved by the AVMA's House of Delegates, which includes representation from all 50 states, the nation's territories, and the AVMA's allied veterinary associations. As such, veterinarians and other stakeholders can be confident that the policy represents the consensus of the veterinary profession.
In addition to providing guidance for the veterinary profession, the AVMA recognizes that only a One Health approach is likely to effectively mitigate the development of antimicrobial resistance. Accordingly, those reviewing the AVMA's new policy will see parallels between it and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship Programs," which provide a similar framework for antibiotic stewardship for outpatient clinicians and facilities that routinely use antibiotics as part of their treatment paradigms in human medicine. By building on parallel goals, the AVMA and its Committee on Antimicrobials hope to encourage and support better collaboration between veterinary and human medicine.
"This is all part of our commitment to work with stakeholders across animal and human health so that we can embrace shared values and build consensus on antimicrobial stewardship," said Dr. Virginia Fajt, chair of the AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials.
Next up? Collaborative work with the AVMA's allied veterinary organizations in the creation of resources to help individual veterinarians best utilize the new policy as they develop their veterinary practice stewardship plans. Regular updates will be provided as these new tools are released.