Antimicrobials

Antimicrobials are essential to veterinary and human medicine to treat infectious and zoonotic bacterial diseases, but inappropriate use could render them ineffective.

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

Medical and veterinary communities share concerns over the implications of the development of microbial resistance. Each use of antimicrobials increases the risk of selection for resistant bacteria so we must ensure that our use of antimicrobials is responsible.

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

Our position on antimicrobials

See our guidance on the responsible use of antimicrobials (39 KB PDF) which should be used in conjunction with our 7-point plan poster shown below.

We have also developed a more detailed, forward looking BVA position on the use of antibiotics in food producing animals (24 KB PDF).

Display our posters in your practice

RUMA Targets Task Force

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. The taskforce is currently collating and finalising draft proposals for reduction by sector. The development of targets comes in response to the O’Neill report.

European Antibiotic Awareness Day

European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) is a Europe-wide event taking place annually on 18 November. It aims to raise awareness about using antibiotics in a responsible way and helping to keep them effective for the future. This year, EAAD will be incorporated into World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) running from 16 - 22 November.

To mark EAAD we are asking all vets, vet nurses, farmers and pet owners to pledge to become an antibiotic guardian.

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:

Trust your vet campaign

Our recent survey shows 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.

In order to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance and encourage pet owners to use antibiotics responsibly, we have launched the #TrustYourVet campaign alongside Defra, Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA).

Information for pet owners

Any use of an antibiotic can contribute towards antibiotic resistance. To keep antibiotics working for animals and people they should only be used when absolutely necessary.

That is why 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:

  • Trust your vet if further tests are needed: different antibiotics work against different bacteria, so it's important your pet gets the right medicine.
  • Trust your vet if they say antibiotics are not required: antibiotics only treat infections caused by bacteria, not viruses.
  • Trust your vet's instructions when giving your pet antibiotics: the correct dose, at the right time, for the full duration prescribed.
  • Trust your vet's advice on keeping your pet healthy: a balanced diet, enough exercise, up-to-date vaccinations and regular check-ups.

Have more questions about antibiotic resistance? Download our leaflet How to use antibiotics responsibly.

Display our poster in your veterinary practice

Download this poster to display on digital screens in practice waiting rooms.

Help spread the word about responsible antibiotic use among clients on social media by sharing these tips as well as picture of the poster displayed in your practice via social media with the hashtag #TrustYourVet.

Additional resources

Resources on antimicrobials

Resources for veterinary practices

Resources for animal keepers