Restrictive but not restricted: Perspectives on antimicrobial use andantimicrobial resistance among Swedish dairy veterinarians
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Background and aims:In Europe, the antimicrobial use (AMU) for food-producinganimals has decreased rapidly. However, studies indicate that a too strict policy, with toorestrictive AMU, is potentially problematic for veterinarians because it threatens animalwelfare and creates tensions between farmers and veterinarians. The AMU in Sweden isamong the lowest in Europe, and regulation of AMU in farm animals is strict. The aimof our study was to explore how Swedish veterinarians describe the relations between(1) being restrictive with antibiotics due to the risk of AMR and (2) concerns for animalwelfare and/or the veterinarian-client relationship.Methods:Semi-structured interviews with 21 veterinarians, working with dairy cattle,were performed. The transcripts were analysed, and a number of dominant patternswhich recurred in all, or most of, the interviews were identified.Result:The interviewed veterinarians described AMR prevention and tackling thethreat AMR poses towards public health, as central for their profession and as influenc-ing their everyday practice and decisions on AMU. Importantly, veterinarians describedaccounting for AMR in everyday practice as fairly unproblematic, both in relation toanimal welfare as well as in relation to farmers. The veterinarians generally perceivedthat they could treat animals with antibiotics when justified, and being restrictive withantibiotics was described as an expression of professional skill and not as challengingas animal welfare. Moreover, they stated that restrictive AMU seldom or never causedconflicts with farmers.Conclusion:Strict AMU policy and restrictive AMU do not necessarily put veterinar-ians in a problematic position where they are caught between conflicting demands andrisks.
Is part ofVeterinary Record Open, 2021, vol. 8, núm. 1, e25
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