The New Zealand Veterinary Association has some advice for animal owners amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NZ Veterinarian Association says this highlights the key role veterinarians play in judicious use of antimicrobials to combat the rise of antimicrobial resistant bacteria.
New Zealand is a world leader in the prudent and highly regulated use of antimicrobials, the association says.
Antibiotics used in animals are regulated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and are registered for use for the treatment of animal disease. However antibiotics play a vital role in keeping animals healthy and protecting their welfare.
Access to antibiotics is restricted in New Zealand and are only available after veterinary consultation and prescription.
The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) says it is a strong advocate for the prudent use of these medicines and we see ourselves as having a stewardship role to play. "Antimicrobial usage should always be part of an integrated disease control programme, not a replacement for one and should include attention to hygiene, disinfection procedures, biosecurity measures, changes in stocking rates and vaccination across companion and farm animals," it says in a statement.
Dr Dennis Scott, chair of the New Zealand Veterinary Association anti-microbial resistance working group says: "Antimicrobial resistance is a key priority for the NZVA and we are working alongside MPI and other industry partners to develop a national strategy to address this global concern."
"We recognise that use of antimicrobial medicines for treating disease in humans and animals has seen major improvements in human and animal health, and in quality of life, for over more than half a century," he says.
"They must continue to effectively treat bacterial infections as they are critical in guarding and supporting the health and welfare of humans and animals. All veterinarians have a role to play in ensuring the careful use of antimicrobials so that they will remain effective for treating infections."