To characterize antimicrobial prescribing patterns of clinicians and clinical services at a large animal veterinary teaching hospital and identify factors associated with antimicrobial prescribing.
All large animals (ie, equids, bovids, sheep, goats, camelids, swine, and cervids) evaluated at the New Bolton Center hospital at the University of Pennsylvania from 2013 through 2018.
In a cross-sectional study design, data on antimicrobial use by clinicians and clinical services were collected from administrative and billing records. Multivariable regression modeling was performed to identify factors associated with antimicrobial prescribing patterns.
Antimicrobials and critically important antimicrobials of the highest priority were dispensed in 42.1% (9,853/23,428) and 24.0% (2,360/9,853) of visits, respectively, and these proportions differed significantly among clinicians. Per visit, the median (interquartile [25th to 75th percentile] range) number of animal-defined daily doses dispensed was 3.6 (0.8 to 11.1) and the mean (SD) number of antimicrobial classes dispensed was 2.0 (1.3). Patient species, age, affected body system, and duration of hospitalization as well as submission of specimens for bacterial culture were significantly associated with prescribing patterns.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
The frequency and quantity of antimicrobials prescribed differed significantly among clinicians within and across services, even for animals with clinical signs affecting the same body system. Patient- and visit-level factors explained some but not all of the heterogeneity in prescribing patterns, suggesting that other clinician-specific factors drove such practices. More research is needed to better understand antimicrobial prescribing patterns of clinicians, particularly in situations for which no antimicrobial use guidelines have been established.