Ian Battersby, an RCVS and EBVS European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine and Head of Internal Medicine at Davies Veterinary Specialists is urging the profession to support Antimicrobial Awareness Week.

Ian, who helped devise the PROTECT ME acronym which is now used worldwide to champion the cause of responsible antimicrobial use, said: "Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats of our time and it affects all sectors of the veterinary profession.

"While there will always remain a need for the use of antimicrobials for the treatment of bacterial infections, it is the duty of every one of us to continue our good work to protect their usage to ensure they remain effective for the future."

PROTECT ME stands for Prescribe only when necessary, Reduce prophylaxis, Offer other options, Treat effectively, Employ narrow spectrum, Cure appropriately, Tailor your practice policy. Monitor, Educate others.

Ian added: "I discussed the issue of restricted prescribing with my Doctor when he was treating my injury back in 2011

"Discussion on the Small Animal Medicine Society (SAMSOC) forum followed and then we developed a working group.

"I came up the name PROTECT when I was in the shower one day experimenting with acronyms on the shower cubicle wall!

"Collaboration with BSAVA enabled the scheme to launch in 2012 and then BEVA adapted the scheme and added the ME.”

PROTECT ME is now used for BSAVA and BEVA’s antimicrobial resources and campaigns and has also been taken up in New Zealand and been translated into French.

Rachael McGregor, Clinical Director at Calder Vets in Yorkshire asked Ian for help in developing antimicrobial stewardship guidelines for the practice last year. She said: “Ian helped us to set up prescribing guidelines using a traffic light system, supported a programme of CPD and supplied prescribing posters. This has made a significant difference to prescribing behaviour across the practice and over the past two months we haven’t prescribed a single critically important antibiotic.”

Davies has produced a range of resources for vets and for pet owners including an explanatory poster and a webinar series. For further information visit: https://vetspecialists.co.uk/insights/webinars/antimicrobial-webinars/ 

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