You Have Asked...
How can I make sure I am using antimicrobials appropriately and judiciously in my patients?
The Expert Says...
Antimicrobial therapy use in veterinary medicine is undergoing increasing scrutiny, which can help focus efforts for better use of antimicrobials and improved patient outcomes. However, in some regions, this scrutiny is also leading to pressure to restrict access to and use of antimicrobials in animals, thus potentially adversely affecting patient care. The primary goal of antimicrobial therapy is to facilitate clinical cure of the patient. However, use and misuse of antimicrobials in animals1,2 and humans3-5 is often debated and can lead to antimicrobial resistance in human and zoonotic pathogens; limiting these adverse events must be considered.
Focusing on the relative roles of veterinary and human antimicrobial misuse may be fruitless. As veterinarians, we can impact our own antimicrobial use (but not in human medicine), and that is where our efforts should be directed.
This article addresses key points, including the following, that veterinary professionals should consider regarding antimicrobial use and misuse.
- Collect Specimens for Culture
- Avoid Improper Specimens
- Laboratory Testing Is Not Infallible
- Treat the Patient, Not the Test Result
- Do not Prescribe by Rote
- Change with the Times
- Use Treatment Guidelines
- Remember that “Just in Case” is Not a Label Indication
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