CSU to conduct national DVM survey on antimicrobial resistance, empirical use

CSU to conduct national DVM survey on antimicrobial resistance, empirical use

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May 01, 2001

Fort Collins, Colo.-Officials at Colorado State University (CSU) want to know all about the impact the antimicrobial resistance issue is having in private practice.

At presstime, officials mailed a survey to 14,000 private practitioners in small animal, equine and food animal practice.

The goal, according to Dr. Paul Morley, director of biosecurity at CSU, is to accumulate the most comprehensive data to date on veterinarian attitudes, empirical uses and information sources about antimicrobial uses.

"This is in response to general concerns that federal regulatory agencies have proposed increased limitations on the antimicrobial use in animals, but in our opinion, there is very little information on use practices in veterinary medicine," Morley explains. "We would like those decisions to be fact-based and science-based in the decision-making rather than conjecture."

Want to know

The survey queries veterinarians about whether they are concerned about antimicrobial resistance in practice, where they get information on antibiotic resistance and how they decide what drug doses to use, he says. "Also, we would like to know how veterinary medicine and other veterinarians fit into the whole picture of antimicrobial resistance."

Morley adds, "The second part of the survey, deals with their specific empirical use practices. They are given a series of scenarios of individual animals with certain conditions, and asked what drugs would they use and at what dose," he says.

Tabulation of the survey will allow Morley and others involved with the project to break the data out by practice types to derive conclusions about antibiotic use practices.

Morely adds, "We have good response to the concept, but it will all come down to the end on how many veterinarians will respond."

The issues which have surfaced over the last few years on antibiotic resistance are very important to society, he says. Therefore, the survey would be a start to answer questions about antibiotic uses in veterinary medicine.

Morley explains, "There is language that has started to creep into reports, for example from the World Health Organization, that point a damning finger at veterinary medicine, suggesting that people involved in agriculture and people involved with veterinary medicine do not use antimicrobial drugs prudently. Our quest is to obtain some factual information about that."

Results in early fall

The survey was mailed to practitioners in April. Morley hopes participating veterinarians will return the surveys to CSU in early May; and researchers would then work to tabulate the results and start disseminating initial results as early as this fall.

The survey has been funded by CSU and is being conducted in conjunction with other projects focused on antimicrobial resistance.

Morley explains, "This is just one part of our investigation of the issue. Other work funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration is looking at risk factors for development of antimicrobial resistance as well as the ecology of antimicrobial resistance in food producing operations. We are also working on developing a monitoring program for antimicrobial drug use in the veterinary teaching hospital at the college," he says.