Inappropriate antimicrobial use (AMU) is a global concern. Opinions of veterinarians regarding AMU and its role in the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) may influence their prescription practices. It is important to understand these opinions, prescription practices and their potential impact on the development of AMR in order to guide efforts to curb the problem. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial prescription practices and opinions of veterinarians in Kentucky regarding AMU and AMR.

This cross-sectional study used a 30-question survey questionnaire administered to veterinarians who were members of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association. Survey responses from 101 participants were included in the study. Descriptive statistics were computed and associations between categorical variables assessed using Chi-square or Fisher’s exact tests. Firth logistic models were used to investigate predictors of “Compliance with prescription policies” and “Cost of antimicrobial affects prescription decisions”.

Almost all (93%) respondents indicated that improper AMU contributed to selection for AMR. A total of 52% of the respondents believed that antimicrobials were appropriately prescribed, while the remaining 48% believed that antimicrobials were inappropriately prescribed. Significant predictors of compliance with prescription policies were availability of prescription policy at the veterinary facility (Odds Ratio (OR) = 4.2; p< 0.001) and over-prescription (OR = 0.35; p = 0.025). Similarly, significant predictors of cost of antimicrobials affecting prescription decisions were lack of post-graduate training (OR = 8.3; p = 0.008) and practice type, with large animal practices having significantly lower odds of the outcome (OR = 0.09; p = 0.004) than small animal practices.

Most veterinarians indicated that improper AMU contributed to selection for AMR. Since the odds of compliance with prescription policies were 4-times higher among veterinarians working at facilities that had prescription policies compared to those at facilities that didn’t, more veterinary facilities should be encouraged to adopt prescription policies to help improve compliance and reduce AMR. Veterinarians would also benefit from continued professional education to help improve prescription practices, antimicrobial stewardship and curb AMR.

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Published in PLOS ONE, v. 16, issue 4, e0249653.

© 2021 Odoi et al.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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pone.0249653.s001.xlsx (28 kB)
The questionnaire survey raw data, in Microsoft Excel format, generated during the study.