Danish cattle veterinarians' perspectives on antimicrobial use: Contextual and individual influencing factors

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The global risk for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) can be reduced by reducing antimicrobial use (AMU). Veterinarians are one of the key actors in relation to AMU in livestock, and understanding the dynamics of veterinary treatment and prescription is central to achieving AMU reduction. Veterinary AMU decisions are influenced by a complex pattern of both individual and contextual factors. In this study, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 16 Danish cattle veterinarians to investigate their perspectives on AMU and current practices in a national context with low use and extensive legal control. We found that personal experiences and emotions, rather than scientific evidence, guided some veterinarians when making AMU choices. Furthermore, less-experienced veterinarians felt pressure to prescribe according to colleagues' and farmers' preferences for certain antimicrobials. We found that changes in Danish legislation seemed to have introduced hesitancy and a lack of motivation within the veterinary profession, and that AMR was perceived as an abstract threat not applicable to the veterinarians' daily professional decision making. We concluded that the lack of field-generated research of local relevance nourished a culture in which AMU choices are built on personal experience rather than scientific evidence, which also diminished newly educated veterinarians' self-confidence in relation to their AMU choices. Future research should focus on developing locally relevant research on optimal AMU choices and AMR, and the implications of extensive legal control of AMU in livestock farming should be further investigated to find a balance on the path to reducing AMU.

TidsskriftJournal of Dairy Science
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)3377-3393
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. A special thank-you to all of the veterinarians who openly and willingly participated in the interviews and generously shared their personal thoughts and experiences of antimicrobial use. The contribution to this article from the second author (M. Vaarst) was funded by ROADMAP ( https://www.roadmap-h2020.eu/ ; grant agreement no. 817626), which received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (Brussels, Belgium). This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. The authors have not stated any conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Dairy Science Association

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