Prescription behavior, consumption, use and waste management of antibiotics/ biocides in Belgium in veterinarians of companion animals and livestock, including a pilot intervention study to optimise antibiotic use in companion animal veterinary practice

01 January 2023 → 31 December 2026
Federal funding: various
Research disciplines
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Veterinary microbiology
    • Veterinary medicine not elsewhere classified
antimicrobial use Antimicrobial resistance Veterinary
Project description

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a global threat to public health. Belgium still remains one of the countries in Europe with the highest use of antibiotics and broad-spectrum antibiotics. Reducing and optimizing antibiotic use is more urgent than ever. This reduction and optimisation covers all sectors in which antibiotics and biocides are used and prescribed, as AMR does not respect species or environmental boundaries. A "One health" approach is therefore necessary.

In Belgium, several qualitative studies have already been carried out that provided insight into the underlying determinants of the prescribing behaviour of general practitioners in human medicine. In the context of the growing importance of a "One Health" approach, an exploratory study is needed that also maps the prescribing context and antibiotic use of Belgian veterinarians. A recent development in this area is the appointment of coaches (AB coaches, Belplume & Belpork) who guide livestock farmers with high antibiotic use towards a lower and more responsible antibiotic use. Several studies have already shown that coaching the farmer can lead to behavioral change. However, it is still unclear what the success factors of coaching are, e.g. influence of the stage of behavioral change of the farmer, effect of coaching on the autonomous motivation of the farmer (self-determination theory) or effect of the communication style of the veterinarian / coach (motivational interviewing). This is essential information for successful coaching and for integrating these methods into the future training of coaches/veterinarians. A final aspect of this project is the evaluation of an intervention to reduce and optimize antibiotic use. In human medicine, several interventions have already been set up aimed at improving communication between healthcare provider and patient in combination with the use of tools, such as the IMPAC3T and GRACE-INTRO studies. In veterinary medicine, no similar interventions have yet been applied within the Belgian context.

This research project aims to provide answers to the following questions:

1) How do production animal and companion animal veterinarians experience their antibiotic use and prescribing behavior, biocidal product waste disposal, and antibiotic consumption by their clients? 

2) Evaluation of coaching for reduced antibiotic use: what are the success factors in coaching the farmer towards better biosecurity and responsible antibiotic use?

3) Development, implementation and evaluation of an intervention aimed at the prescribing behavior of veterinarians: can this intervention optimize antibiotic use and prescribing behavior?