Antibiotics are only effective against some types of bacterial infection and will not work against viral infections. Following the advice of veterinary professionals on medication is essential to ensure long-term access to antibiotics that work for us and our pets.
What is the veterinary sector doing?
There are many veterinary organisations actively involved in antibiotic stewardship, and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has collated resources for veterinary professionals in its RCVS Knowledge AMR hub.
As a result of these efforts, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate reported a reduction in the sales of antibiotics for dogs and cats of 21%, over the seven years between 2014 and 2021.
What are Linnaeus practices doing for antibiotic stewardship?
Our practices recognise the importance of antibiotic stewardship. Our veterinary professionals are active in responsible pharmaceutical stewardship programmes and many have been making the pledge to be an Antibiotic Guardian.
Our vets use our antibiotics policy, live data feeds and guided audits to implement the best practice guidelines created by our Linnaeus Clinical Board experts.
With this focus, we reduced purchases of antibiotics across Linnaeus by 15% between 2021 and 2022.
In 2022, our small animal veterinary teams completed a BSAVA PROTECT-ME poster to guide better antibiotic choices. Now, our teams are completing audits to guide antibiotic choices for acute canine diarrhoea. We also have an RCVS Knowledge Farm Vet Champion in every farm animal practice.
Our latest Insight Report on sustainability includes an article written by our Clinical Board expert, Fergus Allerton, on the importance of antimicrobial stewardship.
What can pet owners do?
For the second year running for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week in November 2023, our veterinary practices will be encouraging owners to return unused or out-of-date antibiotics (and other veterinary medicines) for appropriate disposal. This work is in collaboration with NHS pharmacies, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and other veterinary groups such as RCVS Knowledge and RUMA CA&E.
For a full list of our locations nationwide, please click here.
All medicines prescribed for humans can be returned to your local NHS pharmacy.
Look out for BSAVA non-prescription pads that our small animal veterinary teams are using to help owners on antibiotic stewardship. If your pet is not improving after your visit to see the veterinary surgeon, if new symptoms are observed or if you have further concerns, we always encourage you to call or visit your practice.
Watch the below short animation created by our Clinical Board expert, Fergus Allerton, and his team to understand more about how you can help safeguard antibiotics.
Our vets have also been contributing to research by enrolling in the SOS study led by Fergus – please support us by giving your informed consent to be involved in clinical research.
To join our veterinary professionals and make a pledge to become an Antibiotic Guardian, click here.