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Opinions of veterinarians on antimicrobial use in farm animals in Flanders and the Netherlands
  1. M. Postma, DVM, PhD1,
  2. D. C. Speksnijder, DVM2,
  3. A. D. C. Jaarsma, DVM, PhD4,
  4. T. J. M. Verheij, MD, PhD5,
  5. J. A. Wagenaar, DVM, PhD, DipECVPH2 and
  6. J. Dewulf, DVM, PhD, DipECVPH1
  1. 1Veterinary Epidemiology Unit, Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
  2. 2Department of Infectious Diseases & Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Veterinary Clinic Tweestromenland, Wijchen, The Netherlands
  4. 4Center for Research and Innovation in Medical Education, University Medical Center, Groningen, The Netherlands
  5. 5Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  6. 6Central Veterinary Institute (CVI) of Wageningen UR, Lelystad, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to E-mail for correspondence: Merel.Postma{at}


Veterinarians play an important role in the reduction of antimicrobial use in farm animals. This study aims to quantify opinions of veterinarians from the Netherlands and Flanders regarding antimicrobial use and resistance issues in farm animals. An online survey was sent out to 678 and 1100 farm animal veterinarians in Flanders and the Netherlands, of which 174 and 437 were returned respectively. Suboptimal climate conditions were regarded as the most important cause for high antimicrobial use in farm animals. Flemish veterinarians also regarded insufficient biosecurity measures and farmers’ mentality as important determinants, while the Dutch respondents ranked insufficient immunity of young animals and economic considerations of farmers as major causes. The majority of Dutch respondents (63.8 per cent) supported the existing national policy, which aimed to halve veterinary antimicrobial use, while the Flemish (32.9 per cent) were less supportive of such a policy. Improvements in housing and climate conditions, biosecurity measures and strict control of specific infectious diseases were seen as important and promising measures to reduce antimicrobial use. To reduce antimicrobial use in farm animals, some shared approaches might be applicable in both countries. However, cultural, political and societal differences between Flanders and the Netherlands require differentiated approaches to reduce veterinary antimicrobial use.

  • Veterinarians perception
  • Antimicrobial usage
  • Reduction
  • Differences
  • Flanders
  • The Netherlands
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