BVA says further evidence needed before changes made in antibiotic prescribing

28 July 2017

Until further studies are conducted, BVA is urging vets to continue to prescribe antibiotics according to current guidelines

article published in the
British Medical Journal (BMJ) has questioned the validity of currently accepted
guidelines for completing a course of antibiotics, as prescribed. It suggests
that there is little evidence that failing to complete a prescribed antibiotic
course could contribute to antibiotic resistance.

to the possible implications of this article, the British Veterinary
Association is cautioning against any changes to the duration or dosage of
antibiotic prescriptions, until further evidence is provided to support such

Junior Vice President John Fishwick said:
"We're very aware of the global threat antimicrobial resistance poses to
human and animal health, and the UK veterinary profession is committed to the
responsible use of antibiotics. Medicines should never be used to compensate
for poor husbandry practices and routine habitual prophylactic use in healthy
animals to prevent disease is a no-go.

“The article in the BMJ suggests that antibiotics should be used for as short a
period as possible, and that we should move away from the concept of following
a predetermined course. This may indeed be a very important advance, but it is
far too early to determine how this would work in veterinary practice. We need
to clearly establish the evidence supporting it.

support the researchers' calls for clinical trials to determine the most effective
strategies for antibiotic treatment. Until further studies are conducted, it is
too early to change the way we prescribe medicines and vets should continue to
prescribe as previously, only when necessary. It is also vital that clients
continue to follow the directions given by their vets, both in terms of dosage
and duration of treatment, carefully.”

Related BVA policy