press release
Published: 20 September 2019

Veterinary surgeons awarded ‘impact award’ for changing antimicrobial use in veterinary practice

Veterinary researchers from the University of Surrey and University of Bristol have been awarded a prestigious award by the Veterinary Record, the official journal of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), for their contribution to changing antimicrobial use in veterinary practice.


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Award winning team from the University of Surrey and University of Bristol

The researchers were awarded the ‘Vet Record Impact Award’ for their study which showed that ceasing the use of highest-priority antimicrobials (AMs) does not adversely affect cattle health and welfare on dairy farms.

The study published last year (April 2018) involved work on dairy farms in South West England who were engaged in changing AM use through an active process of education and herd health planning meetings.

The team analysed prescribing data collected from veterinary sales records alongside production and health data to measure production parameters, fertility, udder health and mobility data and culling rates.

Findings from the study demonstrated that cattle health and welfare can be maintained and even improved alongside a complete cessation of use of highest-priority critically important antimicrobials (HP-CIAs) as well as an overall reduction of AM use on dairy farms. This work paved the way for a change to the Red Tractor Quality Assurance prescribing rules in June 2018 which have substantially reduced the use of HP-CIAs in the UK dairy industry as a whole.

David Tisdall, Head of Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine, said: “Winning this award is a real honour. It is testament to how small changes can ultimately have a big impact, and how improving herd health and antimicrobial stewardship go hand-in-hand. We can, and must, all make a difference where we are.”

Andrea Turner, Farm Animal Veterinary Surgeon at Langford Vets, said: “We are delighted to win this award.  It is vital that antimicrobials are used as sparingly as possible, but when needed farmers and veterinary surgeons should have access to these medicines to treat animal disease and be confident that they will work when they do.”

Kristen Reyher, Reader in Veterinary Epidemiology and Population Health at the University of Bristol’s Vet School, commented: “What has always impressed me about this work is that it was accomplished voluntarily and without the need for legislation. A similar response has been seen across the UK from the livestock industries, proving that veterinary surgeons and farmers alike are crucially interested in stewarding these important medicines. We are so glad that this work is has had such an impact across the profession.”

David Barrett, Professor of Bovine Medicine, Production and Reproduction, added: “We are thrilled our research has been recognised.  If globally every veterinary surgeon, farmer and doctor works together, we can succeed in lowering the use of critically important antimicrobials.”

The prize was awarded at the BVA Members’ Day held in Swansea yesterday [Thursday 19 September].

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