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A campaign urging pet owners to trust their vets on the use of antibiotics has today been launched by the government.
It follows a new survey by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) that found almost 90% of vets said clients came to appointments with an expectation they will provide antibiotics for their pets.
Nearly 70% of vets also said they feel their clients are not aware of the gravity of the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest global threats with estimates suggesting it could be responsible for ten million deaths per year by 2050 - and cost the global economy $100 trillion.
Following a government strategy to tackle AMR launched in 2013, antibiotic use in livestock has fallen to an all-time low, but attention must now address antibiotic use in companion animals, specifically client expectation and understanding.
Christine Middlemiss, Chief Veterinary Officer, said: “We are a nation of animal lovers, and are committed to having some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world.
“We all want to take care of our pets which is why it’s important to remember that antibiotics are not always the best treatment.
“If that’s what your vet says – trust your vet.
“We all have a part to play in tackling the threat that is antibiotic resistance and reduce it wherever possible.”
John Chitty, British Small Animal Veterinary Association Senior Vice President, said: “Antimicrobial resistance is a major problem in all species, so trust your vet to give professional and impartial advice on the correct use of antibiotics to help not only your pet, but the whole pet population.”
To help raise awareness of the campaign we’re encouraging vets to put up our poster in their practices. The poster is available in Vet Record (6 April) and also downloadable at www.bva.co.uk/trustyourvet where you can also find other resources.
John Fishwick, British Veterinary Association President, said: “Vets are working hard to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance to ensure these vital medicines can be used in the future. It is incredibly important that pet owners follow veterinary advice and trust their vet’s clinical judgement.”
· According to BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, conducted in February 2018.
In 2017 it was estimated that the total number of pets in the UK is 21 million, with 8.5 million dogs, 8 million cats and 900,000 rabbits being amongst the most popular.