Reducing antibiotic usage

In the Netherlands the veterinary sector endorses the objectives set out in the policy document (only available in Dutch) of the 'Stuurgroep Antibioticaresistentie Dierhouderij', a steering group on antibiotic resistance in Dutch animal husbandries. As advisors in the field of veterinary medicine, veterinarians are the first point of contact for livestock farmers trying to reduce their antibiotic use in order to meet these objectives.

The SDa expert panel defines antibiotic use-related benchmark indicators for the individual animal husbandry sectors. These threshold values serve as a starting point for the action plans livestock farmers draw up together with their veterinarians as a way of working towards the intended reduction in antibiotic use. The indicators are expressed in terms of animal-defined daily dosages per year (ADDD/Y).

The SDa has already defined threshold values for several types of agricultural livestock. You can access the SDa theshold values by choosing the corresponding type of livestock farmer concerned.

Benchmarking for veterinarians

In March 2014 the SDa has released the report "The Veterinary Benchmark Indicator to a transparent and responsible prescription pattern of antibiotics in veterinary practice." In this report, the SDa expert panel presents the Veterinary Benchmark Indicators (VBI) and the results of the first analysis of prescription pattern of antibiotics by veterinarians.

For the benchmarking of veterinarians, the SDa panel decided to use a method similar to the one used for defining benchmark indicators for livestock farmers. The Veterinary Benchmark Indicator is based on the animal-defined daily dosages prescribed for all individual farms a veterinarian is responsible for.  The SDa report is also available in English.

The “approved veterinarian”

The SDa supports the quality assurance system of The Netherlands quality assurance body for veterinarians (SGD) referred to as the "approved veterinarian” (geborgde dierenarts), initiated by the beef and dairy farming sector and the Royal Netherlands Veterinary Association (KNMvD). This system holds both veterinarians and livestock farmers accountable for restrictive and selective usage of antibiotics. Each approved veterinarian is contractually bound to adhere to specific requirements regarding animal health management at livestock farms. Approved veterinarians have to undergo training, are required to draw up farm-specific animal health and treatment plans, and are, together with the farmers, responsible for recording the usage of antibiotics. The concept of the approved veterinarian has already been implemented in the beef and dairy farming and pig farming sectors. It is now also being implemented in other animal husbandry sectors, such as the poultry farming and veal farming sectors, supplementary to quality assurance schemes already in place.

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