Apr, 2024

Mars Veterinary Health Publishes Pioneering Study on Antimicrobial Purchasing Practices

As the veterinary profession is acutely aware, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a significant threat to the health of people and animals. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies it as a global concern with profound implications for the environment, health systems and national economies. Preserving the efficacy of antimicrobials by using them responsibly is a key part of creating a sustainable world because AMR makes infections harder to treat as antibiotics become less effective. As veterinary health practitioners, we have a responsibility to use antimicrobials responsibly to reduce resistance and ensure antimicrobials continue to work when we need them.

Mars Veterinary Health is committed to combatting this global public health crisis and recently conducted a first-of-its-kind, data-driven study on antimicrobial purchasing practices across 2,000+ of our clinics in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S., including Banfield, BluePearl, Linnaeus, and VCA. The study was published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (JVIM).

This groundbreaking scientific research builds on existing initiatives across Mars Veterinary Health to reduce the environmental impacts of antimicrobials and focuses on purchasing data as a key indicator of antimicrobial use. The study offers geographically broad insights into veterinary trends in antimicrobial purchasing, spanning regions, and facility types.

“Mars Veterinary Health is leveraging our broad geographic presence, data, and science to facilitate appropriate antibiotic use globally, with the ultimate One Health goal of making veterinary care more sustainable,” said Ian Battersby, BVSc DSAM DipECVIM-CA FRCVS, RCVS and European Specialists in Internal Medicine, Responsible Pharmaceutical Stewardship Lead, Mars Veterinary Health. “Our study helped us understand different purchasing patterns between clinics on a facility level, which is a crucial part of antimicrobial stewardship.”

The goal of this research was to establish a clearer understanding of antimicrobial use patterns in our veterinary practices to help lay the foundation for effective antimicrobial stewardship strategies. The varying levels of purchasing were not considered better or worse in this assessment, but it enabled us to identify opportunities to learn from clinics with lower purchasing and explore opportunities to reduce use in clinics with higher purchasing levels while maintaining quality standards.

Among other findings, our facilities in the top 10% of total purchasing accounted for 23-30% of purchases, compared to only 1.6-3.8% for the bottom 10%. A human healthcare study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) similarly revealed the top 10% of antibiotic prescribers were responsible for 41% of antibiotic prescriptions. Both insights from the human and veterinary sectors highlight the potential benefit of targeted interventions, with a focus on facilities with higher Antimicrobial Use (AMU), which could result in increased AMU reductions.

Mars Veterinary Health also published peer-reviewed research on antimicrobials prescribing in companion animal dentistry—findings that have the potential to help facilitate the development of prescribing guidelines for dental procedures.

“As the largest provider of veterinary care in the world, we look forward to putting these learnings into practice across our global network of clinics,” said Dr. Molly McAllister, Chief Medical Officer, Mars Veterinary Health. “We hope the entire profession finds value in these insights as well and remain committed to enabling the profession to accelerate more responsible antimicrobial use on a global scale.”

Following a peer-review process, we felt it was important to share these findings and our learnings with the entire profession to advance sustainable veterinary care. Together, we can create a more sustainable future and ultimately A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS and the people who care for them.