Antimicrobials Guidelines


Therapeutic antimicrobial products are used by veterinary surgeons in the treatment and control of many types of infection in a wide variety of animal species. If a number of animals in a group have overt signs of disease, both sick and healthy animals may need to be treated with therapeutic levels of an antimicrobial product for the recommended period. This is intended to cure the clinically affected animals, reduce the spread of disease and prevent clinical signs appearing in the remainder.

Antimicrobial resistance is a natural phenomenon which is an inherent risk associated with any use of antimicrobial medication in any species. Opinion is divided on the practical effects of any resistance associated with antimicrobial use in animals on human health. However, measures aimed at limiting the development of resistance are important for prolonging the useful life of all antimicrobials in both human and animal medicine.

Antimicrobial substances used for digestive enhancement are administered in small amounts in the feed. Their use has been carefully controlled in the UK for over 20 years, and the principles laid down by the Swann committee have now been incorporated in European regulations. These products are used in livestock production with a view to improving the efficiency of digestion of animal feeds. In addition they may have important ecological benefits and may reduce the prevalence of certain diseases.


Ultimately, the use of these products depends on responsible prescribing by the veterinary surgeon.

Addendum re. Fluoroquinolones.

In response to the House of Lords Select Committee report on microbial resistance, in which specific reference was made to the veterinary use of fluoroquinolones, BVPA advises its members and other veterinarians who may be called upon to treat poultry that:

PMcM 08/98