Using Medicines Responsibly in Farm Animal Practice: Suggestions for Practitioners Based on Research Findings

Speaker: Wendela Wapenaar

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Using Medicines Responsibly in Farm Animal Practice: Suggestions for Practitioners Based on Research Findings

Decision-making on the use of therapeutics in farm animal medicine and surgery is a topic which can create much discussion amongst practitioners. The scientific evidence base behind the treatment choices can be weak, often due to lack of existing evidence, but also due to the level of variation in the patient and environment that one encounters in practice. It is important to keep encouraging veterinary academia and industry to build on this evidence base by working together with practitioners collecting field data and keeping treatment records.

A ‘considered choice’ is crucial when deciding on treatment protocols; these considerations include the ethical use of veterinary medicines (‘as little as possible, as much as necessary’), as well as keeping your client well informed on the legal implications of products used (prescribing in accordance with the cascade). Animal welfare is at the heart of veterinary decision making particularly when considering analgesics. In addition, collaboration between junior and senior farm vets is crucial; being open to discuss new ideas or listen to old ones is one of the ways to improve treatment choices for your patients, being an individual animal or a herd, and this is important now as more than ever.

This presentation gives examples of challenging situations when making treatment choices and explains which factors should play a role in your decision making. The drive towards a reduced use of antimicrobials in farm animals and the public perception of the use of medicines in the farm animal industry makes this a key topic for vets to engage with.


Learning objectives

Participants will be able to:

· Define the role and challenges of the veterinary surgeon when making treatment decisions in farm animals

· Describe considerations when deciding on treatment in farm animals

· Construct treatment plans supported by the best available evidence

· Recognize limitations provided by the legal and professional framework specific to the farm animal industry

· Explain the importance of interpersonal skills and create methods to improve these with the aim to make better treatment choices