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A patient being treated at Fivelands Vets, where they have seen a reduction in antibiotic prescriptions in 2023

A patient being treated at Fivelands Vets, where they have seen a reduction in antibiotic prescriptions in 2023

IVC Evidensia Achieves New Antibiotic Reduction Milestone Of 8.6% In The UK

4 weeks ago

20th March, 2024 16h08

IVC Evidensia UK & IE

One of the leading veterinary groups in the UK, IVC Evidensia, has reported a new milestone figure of 8.6% during 2023, illustrating they have reduced antibiotic use by almost a third in the last three years. 

This new figure represents both systemic and local antibiotic treatments and prescriptions in outpatient care, reported as a percentage of the total number of patient visits during 2023. It follows previous figures of 10.4% in 2022 and 11.8% in 2021.

The current statistics indicate that the UK is on track to hit a group target of 5% by 2030, which follows in the footsteps of other IVC Evidensia territories such as Sweden and Norway, who already have reached figures of 4.9% and 5.9% respectively.

Anna-Maria Andersson, Group Infection Prevention & Control Director for IVC Evidensia, commented:

“Our vast international network enables us to share relevant knowledge and best practice for reducing the use of antibiotics, learning from those countries who are already ahead of the curve and evolving our strategy to keep the percentage going in the right direction. 

“The continued reduction in the UK will have far-reaching implications beyond educating clients about the global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), ensuring that our group is actively addressing the problem and taking a responsible approach to the use of antibiotics in the future.”

Series of group-wide AMR campaigns

To achieve this progress in reduction figures, IVC Evidensia has implemented a number of group-wide campaigns, such as the Antimicrobial Stewardship (ASP) Programme, an Infection and Prevention Control Month and a partnership with RUMA CA&E:

Kelly Lee, Regional Veterinary Director for the Midlands, commented on the uptake of these campaigns in practices:

“It’s wonderful to see such positive progress in reducing the use of antibiotics. It’s all thanks to the dedication of our colleagues in practice, who really care about the important One Health issue of AMR and are making sure it is getting the necessary focus.

“I believe a combination of these recent campaigns, alongside our vets’ willingness to raise awareness of the dangers of AMR with clients is what has led us to such positive figures. I look forward to working with our teams to drive the reduction down even further in 2024.”

Going back to basic principles

Across the UK there have been efforts by vets to become more aware of their own attitudes towards antibiotics and as well as utilising the campaigns already mentioned, trying to be more aware of the potential dangers of AMR and educating themselves and clients over it.

One such example is Angharad Thomas, a Veterinary Surgeon from Fivelands Veterinary Centre in the West Midlands who made a practical change when it came to prescribing antibiotics in dentistry. This has led to a 17.8% reduction between 2022 and 2023:

“Long dental treatments are a great time to chat to vet students, but one day, instead of quizzing them, I was trotting out my thoughts on the decision-making for the case when I reached post-operative drugs. Stopping here I asked, ‘What are you taught about this these days?’ I suppose I wasn’t surprised to hear that antibiotics didn’t feature. 

“It was a lightbulb moment: Why was I using post-operative antibiotics for my dental cases? I come from the generation of vets who were firmly taught never to give antibiotics to routine surgeries, so why was I continuing to use antibiotics in dentistry? All at once I felt terribly old and out-of-touch. I decided it was time for a change!”

“Given that reducing antibiotic usage is now fairly well recognised by the general public, owners have appeared very supportive. A day three post-operative check provides reassurance that their pet is healing and allows us an opportunity to intervene if required.”

“Being an ‘experienced’ vet can be a trade-off between textbook clinical decision-making and what we believe would work for our patients and their owners. Sometimes we need a paper or two to persuade us to change our ways, but here, going back to basic principles was enough for me. 

“Twelve months later, after watching my cases for any mild complications and reflecting on the whether such complications could be attributed to the lack of antibiotics, I am convinced that this change has had no negative effects on my patients.” 

To find out more about the most recent Positive Pawprint report and further information about antibiotic reduction across IVC Evidensia, head over to the website here.

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