Understanding farmer and veterinarian’s behavior in relation to antimicrobial use and resistance in dairy cattle: A systematic review

Sarah Farrell, Claire McKernan, Tony Benson, Christopher Elliott, Moira Dean*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

To tackle antimicrobial resistance, it is vital that dairy farmers and veterinarians antimicrobial use behaviors and attitudes towards resistance are understood to identify how beliefs and motives influence practices. Current literature details qualitative and quantitative research exploring dairy farmer and veterinarian’s knowledge, attitudes and perceptions on antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial practices with varied and conflicting reported findings. Our objective was therefore to conduct a systematic review to assess the evidence and knowledge gaps in published literature. Articles were identified via database searches of Embase, Medline, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science and were limited to published articles available in English with no publication year restrictions. Article screening was conducted at 3 levels: title, abstract and full text. Of the 349 articles identified, 35 were retained for systematic review. Transparency of reporting was assessed for each study using the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) framework. Quality was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) qualitative checklist. Findings relating to dairy farmers and veterinarian’s knowledge, attitudes and perceptions on antimicrobial resistance and practices were thematically analysed. Comprehensiveness of reporting was variable: studies reported between 5 and 26 of the 32 COREQ checklist items. Five key themes emerged from the data: (1) Knowledge and awareness of antimicrobial resistance, (2) Factors influencing farmer and veterinarian decision making, (3) Perceived barriers and facilitators to reduced antimicrobial use, (4) Perceived responsibility to antimicrobial resistance and (5) The role of the farmer and veterinarian relationship in reducing antimicrobial use. Awareness of prudent antimicrobial use was not uniform between reviewed studies. Many factors influence farmer and veterinarian’s decisions to use antimicrobials including animal welfare and available resources. The farmer-veterinarian relationship is considered a potential barrier or facilitator of reduced antimicrobial use, depending on the perceived relationship dynamic. Encouraging collaboration between farmers and veterinarians could lead to a shared responsibility to reducing antimicrobial use. This review provided a coherent picture of what is currently known and identified gaps in the current knowledge to be used to inform future behavioural intervention research. Increased knowledge, skill development, increased resources, increased engagement, and further research to address the gaps identified are the main recommendations to effectively overcome barriers and elicit appropriate behavior change to achieve reduced antimicrobial use in dairy cattle.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages57
JournalJournal of Dairy Science (Official journal of the American Dairy Science Association)
Publication statusAccepted - 11 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Antimicrobial use
  • Dairy farmers
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Systematic review

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