Pilot trial of an antimicrobial stewardship program in companion animal practice

Fighting antimicrobial resistance is one of the AVA's five strategic priorities. Antibiotic resistance is a global issue and it has been shown that resistance can be passed to humans through the food chain or by direct contact with livestock or companion animals carrying resistant bugs.

While antimicrobial resistance from animals appears to be a significantly smaller risk in Australia than in other nations, the veterinary profession accepts its responsibility in working alongside human health professions to fight resistance at every opportunity.

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, and that they prescribe them responsibly.

The stewardship pilot trial is a first step towards understanding how companion animal clinicians and practices might improve or demonstrate their responsible approach to prescribing antibiotics.


This is a project of the Australian Veterinary Association, which has been designed and implemented by a small working group of volunteers and AVA staff.

Small animal veterinary practices in Canberra are being invited to participate from March 2016 for a 12-month pilot trial.

Once a practice has committed to participating in the pilot trial, all the prescribers working in the practice will need to complete a short online training program that will remind them of the basics of responsible prescribing, provide information about the pilot trial, and help them understand how to support the practice’s participation.


The pilot trial involves veterinary practices committing to participating for 12 months in a simple program to support responsible antibiotic prescribing.

Each practice will:

  • Complete a survey at the commencement and conclusion of the pilot trial to report the practice’s prescribing or purchasing of specific antibiotics over the previous six months
  • Nominate a practice champion as the key contact point with the AVA in relation to the pilot trial
  • Adopt a standard practice policy on antimicrobial stewardship
  • Ensure the AIDAP Prescribing Guidelines for cats and dogs (preferably the app format) are available to all prescribers for quick and easy reference
  • Make some standard information sheets available for use to support effective communication with clients about responsible antibiotic use
  • Ensure all prescribers in the practice complete a short online training program on antibiotic use.


The AVA’s Canberra office staff will coordinate the pilot trial, and maintain regular contact with the practice champions to ensure the smooth establishment and continuation of the pilot trial.

Each prescriber in participating practices will also be invited to complete an optional survey at the commencement and completion of the pilot trial. This will help evaluate whether there are changes as a result of the pilot trial, along with the information provided by practices on antibiotic usage in the practice at the start and finish of the 12-month pilot trial.

The evaluation components of this program have been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the School of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Health at Charles Sturt University.

What next?

Are you a senior decision maker in a small animal veterinary practice in Canberra?


Want to find out more?


Is your practice already signed up? You need to complete your practice antibiotic usage survey.


Want to complete the online training course for prescribers?


If you have questions, contact Project Coordinator, Amanda Stuart, in AVA’s Canberra office on 02 6273 0064 or avaact@ava.com.au


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