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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To understand veterinarian and cat owner perspectives on antimicrobial use in cats, reasons for prescribing cefovecin, and barriers to improving antimicrobial stewardship, including veterinarian and cat owner perspectives of giving oral medication to cats.

SAMPLE

21 New York veterinarians and 600 cat owners across the US.

METHODS

Cat owners were surveyed about their preferences for and experiences in giving oral medications to cats and their experiences with antimicrobials specifically. Veterinarians were interviewed about antimicrobial use decisions in cats, benefits and drawbacks of cefovecin, and their perspectives on antimicrobial resistance.

RESULTS

Many veterinarians reported feeling pressure to prescribe antimicrobials, while 41% of cat owners reported requesting antimicrobials. Although veterinarians are aware of the downsides of prescribing cefovecin, many prescribed cefovecin in situations where an antimicrobial was not needed or cefovecin may not have been the best choice. Veterinarians thought that 20% of cat owners could not give oral medications, but < 10% of cat owners had a cat that was impossible to medicate.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The disconnect between veterinarians’ assessment of and cat owners’ reported abilities in administering oral medication may contribute to cefovecin use. Demonstrating for cat owners how to give oral medication may help improve compliance and reduce the use of parenteral long-acting formulations. Structural and educational interventions are needed to address other contributors to inappropriate antimicrobial use. This research provides the specific considerations about barriers and motivations for cat owners and veterinarians that are required to guide strategic, tailored interventions for both audiences to advance stewardship.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Antimicrobial stewardship encompasses all the individual and collective actions that medical professionals take to preserve the efficacy of antimicrobials. It is a one-health problem, affecting animals and humans. The current state of antimicrobial use in cats, particularly (1) the overuse and improper use of cefovecin, which belongs to the third-generation cephalosporin class that is critically important to human health, and (2) use of antimicrobials when they are not needed, poses unsustainable risks of antimicrobial resistance. This paper describes the principles of antimicrobial stewardship and stewardship challenges faced by feline veterinarians, including (1) poor adherence to or awareness of antimicrobial use guidelines, (2) lack of access to affordable diagnostic tests and antibiograms, (3) lack of access to materials and tools for clients that may facilitate more sustainable antimicrobial use and help cat owners understand resistance risks, (4) underestimating the ability of cat owners to administer oral antimicrobials, and (5) limited time and resources to support stewardship efforts. Based on research described in this paper; an original research article by Cazer et al, JAVMA, December 2023; and a Currents in One Health article by Cobo-Angel et al, AJVR, December 2023, several solutions are proposed to advance antimicrobial stewardship in feline medicine. Many of these proposals were expressly requested by veterinarians interviewed in Cazer et al, JAVMA, December 2023. Education and training of veterinarians and cat owners is an essential step toward sustainable antimicrobial use, but it must be complemented with innovations in diagnostic testing, antimicrobial drug development, structural changes, and technological supports.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association