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World Veterinary Day Recognizes Veterinarians’ Role in Fighting Antimicrobial Resistance

Saturday, April 29, marks World Veterinary Day, a time to celebrate the profession and recognize the positive impact veterinarians have on animal health and welfare as well as on public health. The World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) choose a theme each year and this year have selected “Antimicrobial Resistance—From Awareness to Action,” which emphasizes the important role veterinarians play in regulating and monitoring the use of antimicrobial agents, providing professional advice to animal owners and collaborating with the human health sector.

Antimicrobial drugs have transformed the practice of human and animal medicine with their availability and popular use. Antimicrobial agents treat infections that were once deadly, advancing not only global health but also animal health. These life-saving medications support animal welfare, safety and food security. However, because these drugs have been overused and misused in the human, animal and plant sectors, they are losing effectiveness and facilitating the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

“If bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, we will have lost our most important method of treating illnesses in animals and humans,” said Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) member and public health veterinarian James Wright, DVM, MPVM, former chairman of the One Health Committee. “Both humans and animals will be somewhat defenseless against bacterial diseases."

The human-animal relationship is closely linked. Drug-resistant bacteria can spread from animals to humans by human consumption of meat not handled or cooked properly. Humans also can encounter and host drug-resistant bacteria when eating vegetables that were nourished with fertilizer or water containing animal feces and drug-resistant bacteria. For humans, antibacterial resistance could mean additional visits to the doctor and prolonged suffering as well as serious disabilities and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals help fight antimicrobial resistance by supervising the use of antimicrobial drugs, offering advice to farmers and animal owners and fostering transparent communication with the human health sector. TVMA member Diane Hartman, DVM, Chairman of the One Health Committee, advises animal owners to administer antibiotics as directed for the full course of therapy and not use it to treat viral illnesses.

“Veterinarians can use antibiotics to treat only illnesses that have a high probability of being caused by susceptible bacteria,” Wright said. “They need to use them in the correct dosages and for the proper duration of treatment.”

The U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) also is taking steps to fight antimicrobial resistance in the animal health sector. The government agency recently passed a rule that requires a directive by a veterinarian to include antibiotic treatment in livestock feed, also known as the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). The FDA also no longer allows the use of antibiotics in animal feeds for growth promotion or feed efficiency.

WVA and OIE will bestow a World Veterinary Day Award to the veterinary association that is the most successful at promoting “Antimicrobial Resistance—From Awareness to Action” at the Opening Ceremony of the OIE 85th General Session in Paris, France, on May 21. The award will be presented at the World Veterinary Congress 2017 in Incheon, Korea, on August 27-31.

Animal owners can learn more about public and animal health topics by visiting, TVMA’s veterinarian-written and peer-reviewed pet health information website. offers veterinarians an opportunity to educate the public on animal health issues and how they intersect with the health and welfare of humans and the environment.

About the Texas Veterinary Medical Association
Founded in 1903, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association is a professional association composed of more than 3,700 veterinarians committed to protecting public health, promoting high educational, ethical and moral standards within the veterinary profession and educating the public about animal health and its relationship to human health. For more information, call 512/452-4224 or visit

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Source: PRWeb
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