Responsible use of Antimicrobials

Antimicrobials are essential to veterinary and human medicine to treat disease, but inappropriate use could leave them ineffective. Each use of antimicrobials increases the risk of selection for resistant bacteria, so we must all ensure that our use of antimicrobials is responsible.

Continued availability of all existing antimicrobials and the development of new ones for veterinary use are essential to maintain the health and welfare of both companion and food producing animals.

BVA supports the ‘One Health’ approach of medical, veterinary and environmental professionals working together to address the development of antimicrobial resistance. This approach is a strength of the Government UK 5-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2019-2024.

The following sections include useful information and resources you can use and share with your clients:

  • Our position on antimicrobials
  • European Antibiotic Awareness Day
  • Trust Your Vet campaign
  • Our activity on antimicrobial resistance
  • Resources on antimicrobials
  • Our position on antimicrobials

    BVA Position on the responsible use of antimicrobials in food producing animals was developed through its Antimicrobial Resistance working group. We set out 15 recommendations that call for responsible prescribing and responsible use across the profession, industry, and in the wider context of One Health.

    Read the BVA policy position on the responsible use of antimicrobials in food producing animals– Executive summary (PDF 73KB)

    Read the BVA policy position on the responsible use of antimicrobials in food producing animals– in full (PDF 226KB)

    The Antibiotics 7-point plan (132 KB PDF) poster illustrates the guidance found in the BVA position on the Responsible use of antimicrobials in veterinary practice(39 KB PDF).

    Trust your vet campaign

    Our surveys of the profession show that two-thirds of vets feel clients are not aware of the issue of antimicrobial resistance. Almost 90% vets said clients came to appointments, at least sometimes, with an expectation they will provide antibiotics for their pets.

    To keep antibiotics working for animals and people, we launched the #TrustYourVet campaign alongside Defra, Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA).

    We are asking pet owners to follow veterinary advice on treatment and trust their vet’s clinical judgment when it comes to the use of antibiotics to treat their pet. Download the Trust your vet on antibiotics (PDF)  to display on digital screens in practice waiting rooms.

    RUMA Targets Task Force

    BVA is a member of the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) alliance. Our activity has been coordinated through RUMA, where membership includes organisations representing agriculture, veterinary practice, animal medicines industry, farm assurance, training, retailers, consumers, and animal welfare. 

    The BVA Antimicrobial Resistance Working Group recently developed a set of high level principles to inform the work of the RUMA Targets Task Force, which is working with sector representatives to agree targets for the reduction of antimicrobial use in the beef, dairy, egg, fish, gamebird, pig, poultry meat and sheep sectors. These targets where published in the RUMA Targets Task Force Report 2017 and RUMA provides regular updates on its website

    European Antibiotic Awareness Day

    European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) is a Europe-wide event taking place annually on 18 November. It helps to raise awareness about using antibiotics in a responsible way and helping to keep them effective for the future. 


    Are you antibiotic aware? 

    BVA Are you antibiotic aware poster 2019 (PDF 255 KB)

    BVA Are you antibiotic aware Welsh 2019 (PDF 257 KB)

    Bust the myths about antibiotics

    Surveys have shown that many people misunderstand the role of antibiotics and the need to use them responsibly in line with the instructions given by the veterinary surgeon or doctor.

    Download our six myth busters and help spread the word by sharing them via social media:

  • Myth 1: My animal is better, I don't need to finish the course 
    Download and share myth 1
  • Myth 2: Use-by dates are a cynical marketing tool
    Download and share myth 2
  • Myth 3: 2ml works twice as well as 1ml
    Download and share myth 3
  • Myth 4: If an antibiotic worked for another dog, why not mine?
    Download and share myth 4 
  • Myth 5: This isn't working, I need something stronger
    Download and share myth 5
  • Myth 6: Feeding calves on milk with some antibiotic in it is good for them
    Download and share myth 6

  • Additional resources

  • Film – what vets are doing to tackle AMR
  • BSAVA position statement
  • Introduction to protecting antibacterials
  • BCVA AMR statement (PDF 140 KB)
  • Resources on antimicrobials

    Resources for veterinary practices

  • Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) guidance for vets on advertising veterinary medicines legally
  • BVA-VMD poster for practice waiting rooms:
    Help keep antibiotics working - A4 (123 KB PDF) 
    Help keep antibiotics working - A3 (140 KB PDF)
  • Small animal PROTECT advice from British Small Animal Veterinary Association 
  • Equine PROTECT ME guidance from British Equine Veterinary Association
  • Collection of research on antimicrobial use for equine vets from the British Equine Veterinary Association 
  • The UK's  5-Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013-2018 highlighting the need for action in both human and veterinary medicine
  • Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance produces guidance on the use of antimicrobials in livestock production
  • Resources for animal keepers