Free antimicrobial research collection published online by horse journal

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endurance-vet_2202The Equine Veterinary Journal has released a special online collection of articles on antimicrobials.

Its release coincides with European Antimicrobial Awareness Day.

The collection is free to all readers and highlights the current understanding of equine antimicrobial resistance and how the veterinary profession can preserve the effectiveness of these essential medicines.

Antimicrobial resistance is an emerging clinical problem, recognised internationally as one of the largest threats to human and animal health.

All major health and veterinary organisations are working to try to limit the development of resistance so that effective antimicrobials can be retained for use in clinical practice.

The online collection comprises 10 clinical reports and studies, and three editorials covering current trends on bacterial populations, risk factors, and the appropriate use of antimicrobials in practice.

A clinical report on the changes in bacterial populations in foals with sepsis raises the question whether the emergence of resistance in horses has occurred as a result of antibiotic use in humans, with nosocomial spread (originating in a hospital) from human handlers in foals.

Studies on the prevalence of faecal carriage of antimicrobial resistant E. coli show their prevalence to be common in normal horses in the community in Britain, although Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriage was rare. Data suggested transmission of resistant bacteria from animals receiving antibiotics may result in carriage of bacteria by contact animals.

The need for judicious use of antimicrobials is reinforced in a study on antimicrobial-associated diarrhoea in three equine referral practices. Two papers investigate both prescribing practice in Britain and the impact of antimicrobial use on infection and pyrexia in hospitalised horses, concluding that there are opportunities for more targeted, “smart”, use antimicrobials in the perioperative period, rather than simply more antimicrobials.

The final study discusses a low-cost syndromic surveillance model for monitoring healthcare associated infection in clinical practice to provide a realistic benchmark against which other hospitals may compare antimicrobial study data.

Three supporting editorials complete the collection, giving important comment on the overall situation of antimicrobial resistance in the horses, including the current political situation and antimicrobials and surgical site infection.

The associate editor of the Equine Veterinary Journal, Professor Peter Clegg, said: “It remains to be determined how big a problem antimicrobial resistance will become for the equine veterinary profession, either through greater difficulties in treating horses, or through political pressure to restrict access to antimicrobials.”

He said the journal remained committed to the promotion of responsible stewardship to best preserve the efficacy of the drugs available for as long as possible.

The president of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and guest editor, Mark Bowen, said his organisation had a long-term commitment to promoting responsible antimicrobial use throughout the profession.

“This year we have released resources around education, aimed at the profession through EVJ and to the horse-owning public through development of material that can be provided alongside antimicrobial dispensing.

“The work of the equine profession in preserving the highest priority antimicrobials will ensure efficacy can be retained for as long as is possible.”

Following the launch of the BEVA’s Protect Me campaign in 2012, two-thirds of equine practices in Britain now adhere to self-imposed policies governing the responsible use of antimicrobials.

The Equine Veterinary Journal was the first publication worldwide to adopt an antimicrobial stewardship policy in its author guidelines.

The collection is available here

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