Representation and Education

BCVA response to release of Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report

The British Cattle Veterinary Association welcomes the encouraging news detailed in today’s release of the most recent Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance (UK-VARSS) report covering 2018. Overall, production animal antimicrobial sales continued to fall to 29.5 mg/kg, placing the UK as the fifth lowest user of antimicrobials in Europe.

The data also showed a slight increase in full susceptibility of pathogens to tested antimicrobials in cattle. Resistance is complicated as bacterial fitness is not always linked to resistance genes.

Cattle-specific indices show that the industry has nearly met all dairy species-specific targets as set out by RUMA 2 years in advance of the 2020 deadline, with large strides being made towards the beef targets with a 5% reduction in the number of doses given, and near-elimination of the use of High Priority – Critically Important Antibiotics.

However, there is a note of caution that there are still improvements to be made. For example, intramammary use of both dry cow and lactating cow antimicrobial therapy increased when compared with 2017 indicating some challenges with udder health. The increased use of internal teat seals is also one of the specific industry targets relating to responsible medicine use.

The 2018 UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report can be viewed at:

Philip Elkins, Hon. Secretary and Elizabeth Berry, JVP
29th October 2019

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