Vets hear update in fight against antimicrobial resistance

The use of antibiotics will inevitably, over time, lead to resistance developing in the bacteria they are intended to target – known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – which continues to be a concern for Veterinary Ireland, attendees at the Cattle Association of Veterinary Ireland (CAVI) Annual Conference heard.

Conor Geraghty, Veterinary Ireland’s CAVI chairman, was speaking at the event today, Friday, October 18.


“The Veterinary Ireland Policy Document on AMR was ratified in May 2014,” he said.

Education and awareness is an essential part of the solution – but reducing the usage of antimicrobials has been and continues to be a key goal of practicing vets in Ireland, demonstrated by the increasing use of vaccines.

Geraghty said that proactive on-farm veterinary involvement increases herd health, reducing the need for antibiotic usage and increasing productivity.

The net result is a more sustainable model of farming – less antibiotics, lower carbon emissions and better animal welfare outcomes, which is also more efficient for the farmer.

He said that Veterinary Ireland will “continue to highlight to its members the important role that vets play as custodians of antimicrobial use in animals”.

‘Future of prescribing’

The conference featured a panel discussion on “The Future of Prescribing” including Rob Doyle, senior superintending veterinary inspector in the Animal Health and Welfare Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

It also included a presentation on Anthelmentic Resistance in Dairy Calves presented by James O’Shaughnessy, researcher with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

28 experts and veterinarians are involved in presenting techniques to over 150 cattle vets during the Veterinary Ireland conference, with other subjects ranging from nutritional management and suckler fertility to stabilising emergencies and including surgical techniques.


Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) in the dairy herd was the subject of a presentation by Dr. Maria Guelbenzu, BVD & IBR programme manager with Animal Health Ireland.

IBR is a highly infectious disease caused by the bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BoHV-1) which, in Ireland, is mostly involved in respiratory infections, the manager noted.

It is estimated that 75% of dairy herds in Ireland have been exposed to this virus. Clinical signs of the infection include nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, fever, inappetence and on occasion, death.

Infection can also be accompanied by decreased milk yield and a range of negative reproductive outcomes, it was noted.

Dr. Guelbenzu outlined that Animal Health Ireland’s IBR Technical Working Group is currently developing options for a national control programme.

She also pointed to studies that showed that most vaccinating herds have a reduction in the within-herd prevalence of animals positive to BoHV-1 with time, even in the absence of formal biosecurity measures.