Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global problem with implications for both human and equine health. AMR in horses poses a threat not only to the individual horse but also to the owners and caregivers. Antimicrobial products are widely used in the treatment of many infectious conditions in horses and their use is vitally important in maintaining health and welfare. However, increasingly, bacteria are developing resistance to antimicrobial products leading to increasing reports of resistant infections in a range of bacterial species. Surveillance of AMR in clinical isolates is important in order to monitor and detect emerging resistance patterns and to guide policies on antimicrobial use and empirical therapy.
This session will detail results from recent studies to understand the AMR patterns of common groups of bacteria from clinical diagnostic submissions from horses in the UK and from an in-depth study in referral hospitals to determine prevalence and distribution, of AMR in faeces, the environment and surgical site infection (SSI) how this varies by sample site and type of submitting veterinary practice.
It is well established that antimicrobial use is one of the main drivers for selection of AMR therefore appropriate use of antimicrobials across all species is essential to preserve their efficacy especially with limited treatment options in the horse due to a limited number of drugs being authorised for use in this species, cost implications and safety concerns due to hindgut fermentation.
Antimicrobial stewardship is a coherent set of actions to promote responsible use of antimicrobials to preserve future effectiveness and this session will also cover initiatives in the UK veterinary sector to encourage responsible use of antimicrobials, including results of a BEVA led survey to outline the current antimicrobial practices of veterinary surgeons in equine practice, including antimicrobial choice and the use of surveillance, audit, guidelines and policies to inform good antimicrobial stewardship.