Understanding Veterinary Decision-Making for Antimicrobial Use in Sheep and Cattle
Student paper, others
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The aim of this study was to understand veterinary decision-making regarding antimicrobial usage (AMU) for the treatment of some common bovine and ovine bacterial infections in Norway. A literature review was firstly performed to (i) identify the current state of knowledge on veterinary decision-making for AMU in livestock, and (ii) identify knowledge gaps for AMU in sheep and cattle in Norway and (iii) inform the design of a qualitative research study in order to capture novel data on prescribing decisions for AMU in sheep and beef cattle by veterinarians in Norway. A qualitative study based on semi-structured, face-to-face individual interviews with four practising veterinarians in Norway was conducted. Four case-based vignettes described common clinical signs associated with 1. Escherichia coli associated enterotoxaemia in lambs, 2. ovine mastitis, 3. septic arthritis in lambs and calves and 4. calf pneumonia. These diseases were selected as they are commonly reported in the Norwegian cattle and sheep health registers. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed. The main themes identified regarding veterinary decision-making on AMU in the sheep and cattle cases included; the relationship to the farmer, agricultural factors including management and economics, knowledge-based factors, animal welfare, professional ethics and antimicrobial resistance, politics and consumer awareness of AMU. The sample size was small and a saturation of veterinary belief’s on AMU in Norway was not captured. However, to our knowledge it is the first qualitative study in Norway into this field and presents novel, preliminary insights into some veterinary perceptions and beliefs that influence decisions for and warrants further research.