Time trends, seasonal differences and determinants of systemic antimicrobial use in companion animal clinics (2012-2015)

Nonke E.M. Hopman, Lützen Portengen, Dick J.J. Heederik, Jaap A. Wagenaar, Ingeborg M. Van Geijlswijk, E.M. Broens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Any antimicrobial use (AMU) in humans and animals selects for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and responsible AMU should therefore be promoted both in human and veterinary medicine. Insight into current AMU in companion animal clinics is necessary to be able to optimise antimicrobial (AM) prescribing behaviour. The objective of this study was to describe systemic AMU in 44 Dutch companion animal clinics over a 3-year time period (2012–2015), using retrospectively collected data. The number of Defined Daily Doses for Animals (DDDAs) per month and per clinic were calculated from prescription data for total, 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice AMU (classification according to Dutch policy on veterinary AMU). Time trends, seasonality and the influence of potential determinants (e.g., the number of dogs, cats and rabbits per clinic and other clinic characteristics) were explored using statistical modelling. Overall, the findings show that total AMU decreased over time and a shift in used classes of antimicrobials towards more 1st choice AMs was visible. Mean total AMU decreased from 1.82 DDDA/year in 2012–2013 to 1.56 DDDA/year in 2014-2015. Aminopenicillins, with and without clavulanic acid, accounted for the largest group of antimicrobials used; 38.7% (2012–2013), 40.2% (2013–2014) and 39.3% (2014–2015) of total AMU, respectively. Strong seasonal differences in AMU were found, with highest AMU in July-August and lowest in February-March. The distribution of different animal species per clinic appeared to affect AMU as well. In clinics with a larger proportion of dogs, 2nd choice AMU was significantly higher, whereas in clinics with a larger proportion of rabbits, 2nd choice AMU was significantly lower. Despite the decrease of AMU during the study period, there is still room for improvement left, especially with regard to the antimicrobial classes prescribed. According to Dutch classification of veterinary AMU, 1st choice AMs should be used as empirical therapy. A decrease in 2nd (might select for ESBL-producing bacteria) and 3rd choice AMU (i.e. fluoroquinolones and 3rd generation cephalosporins) should be aimed for.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-294
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Antimicrobial use
  • Companion animal
  • Determinant
  • Seasonality
  • Time trend
  • Veterinary medicine


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