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Characterisation of antimicrobial usage in cats and dogs attending UK primary care companion animal veterinary practices
  1. E. L. Buckland, BSc, PhD1,
  2. D. O'Neill, MVB, BSc(hons), MSc, PhD, GPCert(SAP, FelP, Derm, B&PS), MRCVS1,
  3. J. Summers, BVetMed, MSc, PhD, MRCVS1,
  4. A. Mateus, LMV, MVPH, PhD, DipECVPH, MRCVS1,
  5. D. Church, BVSc, PhD, MACVSc, MRCVS1,
  6. L. Redmond, BVSc, MSc, MRCVS2 and
  7. D. Brodbelt, MA, VetMB, PhD, DVA, DipECVAA, FHEA, MRCVS1
  1. 1The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7TA, UK
  2. 2Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3LS, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: dbrodbelt{at}


There is scant evidence describing antimicrobial (AM) usage in companion animal primary care veterinary practices in the UK. The use of AMs in dogs and cats was quantified using data extracted from 374 veterinary practices participating in VetCompass. The frequency and quantity of systemic antibiotic usage was described.

Overall, 25 per cent of 963,463 dogs and 21 per cent of 594,812 cats seen at veterinary practices received at least one AM over a two-year period (2012–2014) and 42 per cent of these animals were given repeated AMs. The main agents used were aminopenicillin types and cephalosporins. Of the AM events, 60 per cent in dogs and 81 per cent in cats were AMs classified as critically important (CIAs) to human health by the World Health Organisation. CIAs of highest importance (fluoroquinolones, macrolides, third-generation cephalosporins) accounted for just over 6 per cent and 34 per cent of AMs in dogs and cats, respectively. The total quantity of AMs used within the study population was estimated to be 1473 kg for dogs and 58 kg for cats.

This study has identified a high frequency of AM usage in companion animal practice and for certain agents classified as of critical importance in human medicine. The study highlights the usefulness of veterinary practice electronic health records for studying AM usage.

  • Antimicrobials
  • Epidemiology
  • Companion animals
  • Clinical practice
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