Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 Apr 9;10(4):409. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics10040409.
Antimicrobial stewardship guidelines (ASGs) represent an important tool to help veterinarians optimize their antimicrobial use with the objective of decreasing antimicrobial resistance. The aim of this study was to map and qualitatively assess the ASGs for antimicrobial use in cats and dogs in Europe. Country representatives of the European Network for Optimization of Veterinary Antimicrobial Treatment (ENOVAT) were asked to identify ASGs published in their countries. All collated ASGs updated since January 2010 containing recommendations on antimicrobial therapy for at least three conditions affecting different organ systems in cats and dogs underwent detailed review including AGREE II analysis. Out of forty countries investigated, fifteen ASGs from eleven countries met the inclusion criteria. Several critical principles of antimicrobial use were identified, providing a framework that should assist development of stewardship guidance. The AGREE II analysis highlighted several methodological limitations of the currently available ASGs. This study sheds light on the lack of national ASGs for dogs and cats in multiple European countries and should encourage national bodies to prioritize guideline development in small animals. A greater awareness of the need to use a structured approach to guideline development could improve the quality of ASGs in the future.