Fighting antimicrobial resistance

We've been actively involved in fighting the emergence of antimicrobial resistance for more than 30 years with the development of guidelines, codes of practice and policies.


Fighting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the AVA's three strategic priorities.

Antibiotic resistance is a global concern, and the veterinary profession is working alongside human health professionals to address the issue.

Veterinarians rely on antibiotics to treat animals and prevent suffering in pets, livestock and other animals. It is critical that they are able to retain access to the essential medications they need, for the protection of animal health and welfare.

Australian veterinarians are trained and experienced in the principles of judicious antimicrobial use. As a result, Australian animals have low levels of antibiotic resistance in their bacterial fauna, compared to other countries.

In 2015, the Australian Government released its first ever national strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance. It included a number of priorities for action relating to antibiotic use in animals, as well as issues relating to veterinary practice such as infection prevention and control. An updated strategy for 2020-2025 has since been relesed. The AVA has been an active participant in the development and implementation of both national strategies.

In 2018, an Animal Sector National AMR Plan was developed under the leadership of the Australian CVO, Dr Mark Schipp, to support the National AMR Strategy. AVA was part of the Focus Group who assisted with the development of the AMR Plan.

Read the Australian animal sector national antimicrobial resistance plan 2018.

AVA's work in the fight against AMR

There are several streams to the program – antibiotic prescribing guidelines, antimicrobial stewardship, community awareness, and the national One Health policy agenda.

Antimicrobial prescribing guidelines

In 2017 the AVA embarked on a joint project with Animal Medicines Australia, to develop best-practice prescribing guidelines for horses and livestock species. We are approximately half-way through this major undertaking, with guidelines for Pigs, Poulty, Sheep and Dairy Cattle completed (see: "AMR Resources", below). Feedlot, Beef Cattle and Horse guidelines to follow. 

Antimicrobial stewardship

Evidence-based prescribing guidelines already exist for dogs and cats (AIDAP prescribing guidelines). In 2016, AVA coordinated a pilot trial of an antimicrobial stewardship program with companion animal practices in Canberra. This idea was at the instigation of two Canberra practitioners and was supported by a small working group of staff and volunteers.  Results of the trial will be published in due course.

Community awareness

AVA has participated in Antibiotic Awareness Week since 2012 and has been represented on the national organising committee since 2013. This will continue as a way of helping increase understanding about antibiotic use and resistance in animals among animal owners and human health professionals.

One Health policy agenda

AVA is represented on the Australian Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (ASTAG), and this group has been monitoring the implementation plan for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015-2019. The implementation plan includes a number of key projects and concerns recommended by AVA. A new plan will be developed shortly, and the AVA will make contributions into this process.

In 2018, the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Shipp, developed a National AMR Plan for the Animal Sector, and AVA was part of the focus group for this important process.

AVA Submissions

AVA Submission - National AMR Strategy - 2020 and Beyond

Pre-Budget Submission 2018-19

Commentary on the discussion paper Developing a national antimicrobial resistance strategy for Australia - Department of Health, 7 November 2014

Inquiry into the progress in the implementation of the ecommendations of the 1999 Joint Expert Technical Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance (JETACAR) Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration - 15 February 2013


AMR videos

We discuss initiatives in the fight against AMR and information on the veterinarian's role in this issue.

AMR resources

A range of information from prescribing veterinary antibiotics, guidelines and more.

AMR news

A look at different news articles and media releases by the AVA on antimicrobial resistance.

AMR podcasts

A series of informative recordings from leaders in AMR at the AVA Annual Conference.