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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2016 Nov;71(11):3300-3312. Epub 2016 Aug 11.

Understanding the culture of antimicrobial prescribing in agriculture: a qualitative study of UK pig veterinary surgeons.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Chester High Road, Neston CH64 7TE, UK l.a.coyne@liverpool.ac.uk.
2
Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Chester High Road, Neston CH64 7TE, UK.
3
School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Chester High Road, Neston CH64 7TE, UK.
4
Institute of Psychology, Health & Society, University of Liverpool, Bedford Street South, Liverpool L69 7ZA, UK.
5
The George Pig Practice, High Street, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 9AU, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals has been linked with the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in bacterial populations, with consequences for animal and public health. This study explored the underpinning drivers, motivators and reasoning behind prescribing decisions made by veterinary surgeons working in the UK pig industry.

METHODS:

A qualitative interview study was conducted with 21 veterinary surgeons purposively selected from all UK pig veterinary surgeons. Thematic analysis was used to analyse transcripts.

RESULTS:

Ensuring optimum pig health and welfare was described as a driver for antimicrobial use by many veterinary surgeons and was considered a professional and moral obligation. Veterinary surgeons also exhibited a strong sense of social responsibility over the need to ensure that antimicrobial use was responsible. A close relationship between management practices, health and economics was evident, with improvements in management commonly identified as being potential routes to reduce antimicrobial usage; however, these were not always considered economically viable. The relationship with clients was identified as being a source of professional stress for practitioners due to pressure from farmers requesting antimicrobial prescriptions, and concern over poor compliance of antimicrobial administration by some farmers.

CONCLUSIONS:

The drivers behind prescribing decisions by veterinary surgeons were complex and diverse. A combination of education, improving communication between veterinary surgeons and farmers, and changes in regulations, in farm management and in consumer/retailer demands may all be needed to ensure that antimicrobial prescribing is optimal and to achieve significant reductions in use.

PMID:
27516473
PMCID:
PMC5079303
DOI:
10.1093/jac/dkw300
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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