J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2021 Mar 1;258(5):515-526. doi: 10.2460/javma.258.5.515.
OBJECTIVE: To explore veterinarians' perceptions and veterinary experts' opinions regarding antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) on dairy farms in the western United States.
SAMPLE: 20 dairy veterinarians and 9 AMS experts.
PROCEDURES: 3 focus group discussions involving 20 dairy veterinarians from California, Idaho, and Washington and an expert opinion study involving 9 North American AMS experts were conducted. During focus group discussions, participants were asked open-ended questions regarding implementation of AMS programs on dairy farms. Discussions were recorded and transcribed for thematic analysis. An asynchronous nominal group process was used for the expert opinion study. Participants were asked to complete a series of 3 online surveys consisting of open-ended questions. Expert opinion data underwent thematic analysis and were compared with results obtained from focus group discussions.
RESULTS: Veterinarian-perceived barriers to implementation of AMS on dairy farms included variable relationships with clients and farm employees, ensuring AMS provided value to the farm, and uncertainty about regulations for monitoring on-farm antimicrobial use (AMU). Veterinarians were willing to accept additional responsibility for AMU provided that protocols were adopted to ensure them more complete control of on-farm AMU and they were compensated. The AMS experts indicated that effective implementation of AMS on dairy farms requires producer buy-in and tools to facilitate treatment protocol development and monitoring.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Additional veterinary oversight of AMU on dairy farms will require engagement by both veterinarians and producers and practical value-added methods for AMS. Continuing education programs should address treatment protocol development, AMU monitoring strategies, and employee training.