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Antimicrobial Stewardship: A Priority Issue for the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association

May 6, 2014

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently announced the release of a new report called “Antimicrobial Resistance Global Report on Surveillance”. The report provides a comprehensive overview of antibiotic resistance to date, with data from 114 countries including Canada. According to WHO, antimicrobial resistance is now a major threat to public health in every region of the world.
The veterinary community recognizes that the continued use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine is dependent upon the profession's ability to use antimicrobial products judiciously, striking a balance between maximizing animal health and welfare, while preserving antimicrobial efficacy and protecting public health. That's why antimicrobial stewardship has been made a priority issue for the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). 
CVMA Advocating for Regulatory Changes
We believe a comprehensive strategy that includes agriculture, veterinary medicine and human medicine must be developed to address growing concerns surrounding antimicrobial resistance. 
We support regulatory changes that will provide appropriate veterinary oversight of antimicrobial drug use in animals. This includes closing the 'own use importation' loophole that allows unknown quantities of unapproved antimicrobials to be brought in to Canada and used in animals, including those raised for human consumption. The loophole poses a potential threat to the health of Canadians. Read CVMA’s Position Statement on the Importation of Veterinary Products
We are encouraged by Health Canada's recent announcement of a phase-out of growth promotion uses for antimicrobials in Canada. We urge the federal government to continue working on closing regulatory gaps (e.g., own use importation) that currently do not allow Canada to have effective control over antimicrobial use in animals. 
CVMA Encouraging Prudent Use of Antimicrobials in Animals 
CVMA supports and encourages all veterinarians to use antimicrobials prudently. Read CVMA’s Position Statement on Antimicrobial Use in Animals
Antimicrobial SmartVet, a smartphone app, was recently released to assist veterinarians with the prudent use of antimicrobials when treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) in companion animals. 
In 2008, CVMA developed Antimicrobial Prudent Use Guidelines for Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle, Poultry and Swine
CVMA collaborated with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) to develop a poster that promotes the importance of applying the “Decision Cascade” when veterinarians prescribe medications. It provides general guidance and important points for veterinarians to consider when prescribing compounded products, which are based on CVMA’s Guidelines for the Legitimate Use of Compounded Drugs in Veterinary Practice
A new Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Position Statement is currently in development.
CVMA Hosting Summit on Antimicrobial Stewardship
We’re extending an open invitation for all CVMA Convention delegates to attend “Antimicrobial Stewardship: A New World Order”, the 2014 edition of the Summit of Veterinary Leaders, where the issue of antimicrobial resistance will be closely examined by Canadian and international speakers from the veterinary and human health professions on July 9, 2014. 
CVMA Leading National Antibiotic Stewardship Awareness Campaign
From September 28 to October 4, 2014, CVMA’s Animal Health Week campaign will also follow the theme of antimicrobial stewardship.