An investigation of antimicrobial usage patterns by small animal veterinarians in South Africa

John K. Chipangura*, Hayley Eagar, Marcia Kgoete, Darrell Abernethy, Vinny Naidoo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (SciVal)


Aim At present very little information is available on antimicrobial use patterns in small animal veterinary practice in South Africa. The aim of this study was firstly to provide some indication of antimicrobial use patterns, and secondly to ascertain if the country's small animal veterinarians make use of prudent use guidelines to optimise their antimicrobial use in order to minimise the development of antimicrobial resistance. Methodology In order to understand use patterns, a questionnaire was circulated to registered South African veterinarians, whose responses were evaluated by descriptive statistics. The prevalence of antimicrobial resistance was evaluated for dogs from samples submitted for culture and susceptibility testing for the period 2007–2013 from the only faculty of Veterinary Science in the country. The resistance data was organized into contingency tables and yearly trends in resistance evaluated by means of a chi-square. The use of antimicrobials from the survey were compared to the laboratory result to ascertain the degree of prudent use of the antimicrobials in small animal practice in a developing country. Results The responses from the questionnaire indicated that South African veterinarians predominantly (91.16%) used antimicrobials empirically before resorting to laboratory testing and that antimicrobial compounding and off label use (86.19%) of human registered medication was common practice. A worrying finding was that a large number of clients attempted antimicrobial treatment of their pets prior to seeking veterinary assistance. In terms of monitored resistance, annual prevalence of resistance was above 10% and multiple drug resistance was above 50% for all the isolates. Conclusion It is concluded that antimicrobial resistant bacteria are present in small companion animal practice in South Africa which requires better implementation of prudent use guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Early online date29 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2017


  • Antimicrobial
  • Bacterial culture and susceptibility testing
  • Resistant
  • Usage patterns
  • Veterinary


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