Cross-sectional survey on the use and impact of the Danish national antibiotic use guidelines for companion animal practice

Lisbeth Rem Jessen, Tina Møller Sørensen, Zenia Littau Lilja, Maja Kristensen, Tine Hald, Peter Damborg

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Background: The Danish antibiotic use guidelines for companion animal practice were published by the Danish Veterinary Association in 2012. Since then, national surveillance data indicate a 10% reduction in the total use of antibiotics for companion animals, particularly a marked reduction in the use of third generation cephalosporins. The aim of the study was to assess if and how the guidelines have impacted diagnostic and antibiotic prescription habits of the users, and to identify user perceived barriers to implementation. Results: An online questionnaire was sent to all 882 members of the Danish Small Animal Veterinary Association in October 2015. The survey was completed by 151 veterinarians. Respondents most frequently consulted the recommendations on skin and urinary tract infections (UTI), and users generally reported a high degree of adherence to the recommendations. Sixty-five per cent indicated that the guidelines had influenced their habits in one or more of the areas being investigated, i.e. perioperative use of antibiotics, use of first line antibiotics for the treatment of pyoderma or UTI, and/or use of microbiological diagnostics. Perioperative use of antibiotics for clean surgeries was uncommon, irrespective of whether respondents had consulted the relevant recommendations or not. On the contrary, significant differences in the prescribing habits between guideline users and non-users were observed for pyoderma and UTI, suggesting an impact of the guidelines towards more prudent antimicrobial use. The diagnostic habits were examined in a subgroup of 63 guideline users. Of those, 19 and 39% reported frequent use of culture and susceptibility (C&S) testing prior to treating pyoderma and UTI respectively, whereas 68-84% reported C&S testing in the event of poor response to treatment or recurrence of infections. The main barriers for implementation of therapeutic recommendations were confidence in old prescribing practices and unavailability of recommended drugs. The main barriers for C&S testing were good experience with empiric treatment, and the owners' financial situation. Conclusions: The findings suggest a positive influence of the national antibiotic guidelines on prescription patterns among companion animal practitioners in Denmark. Sustained campaign activity is encouraged and should include promotion of bacteriological testing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number81
JournalActa Veterinaria Scandinavica
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Veterinary (all)
  • Bacteriological testing
  • Culture
  • Prescription patterns
  • Pyoderma
  • Questionnaire
  • Rational antimicrobial use
  • Sensitivity
  • Susceptibility
  • Urinary tract infections
  • UTI

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