Antibiotics (one type of antimicrobial medication) are used in both veterinary and human medicine to treat and to prevent bacterial infections. Antimicrobial medications are classified based on the kind of pathogen they fight – for example, antibiotics are used against bacteria, antivirals against viruses, antifungals against fungal infections, etc. The development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) highlighted the use of antimicrobials in the human and veterinary worlds, leading to increased monitoring of antimicrobial use (AMU) and dispensing practices, as well as surveillance of resistance to these medications. In recent years veterinarians and producers around the world experienced many changes regarding how antimicrobials, specifically antibiotics, can be prescribed, dispensed and used for management of farmed animal diseases.
Dr. Mohamed Rhouma, a veterinarian, microbiologist and assistant professor at the Faculty of veterinary medicine at the University of Montreal, wanted to get a sense of how these changes have affected AMU and AMR in farm animals – and to provide an update on what we know right now regarding the role of farm animals in the spread of AMR to humans from a One Health perspective. To this end, he and his colleagues from University of Montreal and Ghent University (Belgium) performed a review of the current state of knowledge on this topic and the resulting paper was published in the journal Veterinary sciences in September 2022.