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Veterinary surgeons awarded ‘impact award’ for changing antimicrobial use in veterinary practice

From left to right: Adele Waters, Vet Record editor; David Tisdall from the University of Surrey Vet School; Andrea Turner from the University of Bristol Vet School and BVA president Simon Doherty after receiving their award.

Press release issued: 20 September 2019

Veterinary researchers from the universities of Bristol and Surrey have been awarded a prestigious award by the Veterinary Record, the official journal of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), for their contribution to changing antimicrobial use in veterinary practice.

The researchers were awarded the ‘Vet Record Impact Award’ for their study which showed that ceasing the use of highest-priority antimicrobials (AMs) does not adversely affect cattle health and welfare on dairy farms.

The study published last year (April 2018) involved work on dairy farms in South West England who were engaged in changing AM use through an active process of education and herd health planning meetings.

The team analysed prescribing data collected from veterinary sales records alongside production and health data to measure production parameters, fertility, udder health and mobility data and culling rates.

Findings from the study demonstrated that cattle health and welfare can be maintained and even improved alongside a complete cessation of use of highest-priority critically important antimicrobials (HP-CIAs) as well as an overall reduction of AM use on dairy farms. This work paved the way for a change to the Red Tractor Quality Assurance prescribing rules in June 2018 which have substantially reduced the use of HP-CIAs in the UK dairy industry as a whole.

Andrea Turner, Farm Animal Veterinary Surgeon at Langford Vets, said: “We are delighted to win this award.  It is vital that antimicrobials are used as sparingly as possible, but when needed farmers and veterinary surgeons should have access to these medicines to treat animal disease and be confident that they will work when they do.”

David Tisdall, Head of Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the University of Surrey’s Vet School, added: “Winning this award is a real honour. It is testament to how small changes can ultimately have a big impact, and how improving herd health and antimicrobial stewardship go hand-in-hand. We can, and must, all make a difference where we are.”

Kristen Reyher, Reader in Veterinary Epidemiology and Population Health at the University of Bristol’s Vet School and leader of the School’s multi-award-winning research group the AMR Force, commented: “What has always impressed me about this work is that it was accomplished voluntarily and without the need for legislation. A similar response has been seen across the UK from the livestock industries, proving that veterinary surgeons and farmers alike are crucially interested in stewarding these important medicines. We are so glad that this work is has had such an impact across the profession.”

David Barrett, Professor of Bovine Medicine, Production and Reproduction, added: “We are thrilled our research has been recognised.  If globally every veterinary surgeon, farmer and doctor works together, we can succeed in lowering the use of critically important antimicrobials.”

The prize was awarded at the BVA Members’ Day held in Swansea yesterday [Thursday 19 September].


Ceasing the use of the highest priority critically important antimicrobials does not adversely affect production, health or welfare parameters in dairy cows’ by Andrea Turner, David
Tisdall, David C Barrett, Sarah Wood, Andrew Dowsey and Kristen K Reyher in Veterinary Record

Further information

Study at the Bristol Veterinary School

The University of Bristol offers a range of undergraduate courses include the BSc Veterinary Nursing  degrees in both Bioveterinary Science and Companion Animal Behaviour, the five years BVSc Veterinary Medicine degree and from September 2019 the BVSc Veterinary Medicine: Accelerated Graduate Entry Programme for students with a relevant first degree.

In addition a number of postgraduate courses including the MSc Global Wildlife Health and Conservation and continuing professional development courses provided from leading research academics.

About antimicrobial resistance (AMR) research at the Bristol Veterinary School
Antimicrobial resistance research at the Bristol Veterinary School is promoted and facilitated by the AMR Force, initiated and led by Dr Kristen Reyher. We work nationally and internationally and are interested in reducing antimicrobial use while improving animal health through a plurality of approaches addressing differing styles and attitudes.

Our group has been funded by and currently stewards over £9 million of funding from Research Councils UK (BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC) along with various industry (AHDB Beef & Lamb, AHDB Dairy, MSD Animal Health, Zoetis UK, WD Farmers, Coombe Farm), public (Defra, University of Bristol) and charity funders (Soil Association, The Langford Trust) as well as international bodies (EU H2020, Formas – Sweden).

We are uniquely placed to combine our veterinary focus with close collaborations, including those with social science interests, animal welfare research and policy making concerning animals, animal welfare and veterinary practice. We perform medicines audits and clinical governance on antibiotics in all Langford Vets clinics and advise for a number of other practices nationally. We are heavily involved in influencing medicines use UK-wide and in national control programmes on farms. We also work closely and have collaborations across Bristol through Bristol AMR and with a number of basic and social science researchers at the University of Bristol and the University of Exeter.

Follow AMR Force on their Twitter feed @AMRForce

About AMR Force at the University of Bristol.

AMR Force is part of a wider network of AMR research at the University of Bristol - “Bristol AMR” - which is currently funded by UK government grants exceeding £15 million, plus £4 million from the Medical Research Foundation to lead the National PhD Training programme in AMR research. AMR is one of the greatest threats to human health and has profound impacts on animal health, global food production and overall development. Bristol AMR research projects aim to tackle this crisis and include developing and evaluating the use of new AMR diagnostics, discovering new antibiotics and other ways of treating resistant infections, infection prevention materials, and understanding the physical, chemical and behavioural factors that increase AMR in humans, animals and the environment. Projects are based in the UK, and in various developing countries including India, China, Bangladesh, Colombia, Thailand and Argentina.

About Langford Vets
Langford Vets, the trading name of Langford Veterinary Services (LVS), is a customer focussed veterinary business providing an extensive range of specialist capabilities and a superior quality of care. All clinics are supported by highly specialised clinicians, diagnostic imagers, anaesthetists, nurses and other support staff.

Langford Vets has the largest team of American and European specialists in the south west of England and is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Practice Standards Scheme, reaching the highest recognition available in all areas.

Langford Vets is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Bristol.

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