Last updated: 29/9/2020

Minimising AMR: materials for companion animal veterinarians

Helping companion animal veterinarians to minimise AMR risks – providing convenient reference materials

 

Addressing OIE Strategy Objective: Improve awareness and understanding

 

The Japanese government has developed a selection of materials to aid companion animal veterinarians in antimicrobial use. The materials have been distributed nationwide since 2020 and have already shown results to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR), such as more appropriate selection of antimicrobials. The process of monitoring, surveillance and establishing effective measures for antimicrobial use in companion animals in Japan could be a model for other countries.

 

The companion animal sector plays one of the biggest roles in the fight against AMR using a “One Health” approach, but there are few countries monitoring AMR in companion animals and implementing actions to ensure responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) started monitoring AMR in companion animals in 2017. The results of this monitoring were published in the Nippon AMR One Health Report (NAOR), after which time MAFF started to work with the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and the External Expert Group on AMR in Companion Animals (comprising veterinary surgeons and experts from both veterinary and medical fields) to take action.

The annual NAOR is a cross-sectoral publication. In 2018, the report showed similarities of AMR patterns in companion animals and human patients, raising an alarm to MAFF. This led to the development and nationwide distribution of materials in 2020 to at least 10,000 companion animal clinics, 17 veterinary universities, and also pet shops. Materials included:

  1. Guidelines for antimicrobial use for companion animal veterinarians, e.g. “What is AMR?” “Steps to take before use of antimicrobials.” “Good hygiene practice to avoid AMR emergence/spread in a veterinary clinic.”
  2. Convenient reference materials for laboratories in veterinary clinics, e.g. method of preparing a gram stain, list of antimicrobials for prudent use.
  3. Poster for waiting room areas to raise owner awareness of AMR.
  4. Addition of a special section on AMR in the MHLW’s annually updated Handbook of Zoonoses.

MAFF initiated the project, in cooperation with MHLW. The External Expert Group contributed to preparation of the materials. Both the Guidelines for antimicrobial use by companion animal veterinarians and Handbook of Zoonoses are published on MHLW and MAFF websites and delivered to relevant stakeholders.

 

Details of material production

Guidelines, reference materials and posters

  1. The External Expert Group of AMR in Companion Animals was tasked to develop Guidelines on AMR for companion animals considering data from NAOR.
  2. MAFF asked relevant veterinary academic societies, MHLW, and the Ministry of Environment (MoE) for comments on the draft guidelines.

 

Handbook of Zoonoses

  1. MAFF requested MHLW to add a section on AMR to the Handbook of Zoonoses considering data in NAOR.
  2. MAFF and the External Expert Group drafted the section, which MHLW then added to the Handbook.

 

Monitoring and evaluation

Since distribution of the new materials, a questionnaire was conducted with companion animal veterinarians. Many responded that they were satisfied with the guidelines and other materials. Some of them started to prepare gram stains from samples in their clinics before use of antimicrobials and have also been explaining AMR issues to pet owners.  MAFF will continue promoting the use of guidelines and materials, and to further measure their efficacy.

 

Further resources

 

Report prepared by Dr Tomoko Ishibashi, MAFF, Japan

 

 

Further resources

MAFF. Japan

AMR materials

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