Antimicrobial stewardship in animal health


Welcome to Module W of this course. This module is aimed at animal health professionals including laboratory professionals, veterinary services and managers, and policymakers.

The term ‘stewardship’ means the responsible management of something that has been put into someone’s care. And so, when we ask someone to be an ‘antimicrobial steward’, what we are really asking is that they use antimicrobials responsibly and sparingly.

In this module, you will learn about antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) in animal health. Issues related to the use of antimicrobials for therapeutic and non-therapeutic purposes, animal welfare and the role of diagnostics in guiding therapeutic decisions in animals will be covered.

While antimicrobials are used in most animals, the quantities used in livestock (e.g. chickens, pigs, cattle) and aquaculture are of most concern for public health. Therefore, we will focus our learning on AMS in livestock and aquaculture.

In this module, the term ‘food animals’ is used to describe livestock and aquaculture food-producing animals.

Please be aware that this module is longer than most, involving eight hours of study.

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • define the five principles of AMS in animal health
  • describe how intrinsic and extrinsic factors drive prescribing behaviour
  • list and explain the different therapeutic and non-therapeutic uses of antimicrobial agents in food animal production
  • identify the relationship between AMS and animal welfare
  • list antimicrobial agents rated as critically important for people that are commonly used in food animal production.

Activity 1: Assessing your skills and knowledge

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Before you begin this module, you should take a moment to think about the learning outcomes and how confident you feel about your knowledge and skills in these areas. Do not worry if you do not feel very confident in some skills – they may be areas that you are hoping to develop by studying these modules.

Now use the interactive tool to rate your confidence in these areas using the following scale:

  • 5 Very confident
  • 4 Confident
  • 3 Neither confident nor not confident
  • 2 Not very confident
  • 1 Not at all confident
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Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

1 Use of antimicrobials in animal health