Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on antimicrobial use in companion animals in an academic veterinary hospital in North Carolina
Jolley, A., Love, W., Frey, E., & Lanzas, C. (2023, April 7). ZOONOSES AND PUBLIC HEALTH.
Abstract Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacterial pathogens reduces the effectiveness of these drugs in both human and veterinary medicine, making judicious antimicrobial use (AMU) an important strategy for its control. The COVID‐19 pandemic modified operations in both human and veterinary healthcare delivery, potentially impacting AMU. The goal of this research is to quantify how antimicrobial drug prescribing practices for companion animals in an academic veterinary hospital changed during the pandemic. A retrospective study was performed using prescribing data for dogs and cats collected from the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine (NCSU‐CVM) pharmacy, which included prescriptions from both the specialty referral hospital and primary care services. Records ( n = 31,769) for 34 antimicrobial drugs from 2019–2020—before and during the pandemic‐related measures at the NCSU‐CVM—were compared. The prescribed antimicrobials' importance was categorized using the FDA's Guidance for Industry (GFI #152), classifying drugs according to medical importance in humans. A proportional odds model was used to estimate the probability of more important antimicrobials being administered in patients seen during the pandemic versus before (i.e., critically important vs. highly important vs. important). Rates of AMU per week and per patient visit were also compared. During the pandemic, cumulative antimicrobials prescribed per week were significantly decreased in most services for dogs. Weekly rates for Highly Important antimicrobials were also significantly lower in dogs. For important and critically important antimicrobials, rates per week were significantly decreased in various services overall. Rates of antimicrobial administration per patient visit were significantly increased for Highly Important drugs. Patients in the internal medicine, dermatology, and surgery services received significantly more important antimicrobials during the pandemic than before, while cardiology patients received significantly less. These results suggest that the pandemic significantly impacted prescribing practices of antimicrobials for companion animals in this study.