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AVMA briefs congress on importance of antibiotics

America's largest veterinary association briefed the Congress on the uses of antibiotics and how they help protect animal health, providing in-depth scientific information on the necessity of antibiotic use for preventing and treating disease in companion animals and livestock.

Two educational sessions were held by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) with honorary hosts Rep. Kurt Schrader, DVM, (D-Ore.) and Sen. John Ensign, DVM, (R-Nev.), the only veterinarians serving in Congress. The discussions allowed congressional staffers to learn about when and how veterinarians utilize antibiotics to keep both food supply animals and household pets disease-free.

Speaking at the briefings as an expert in livestock medicine, Dr. Lloyd Keck, a worldwide animal health consultant to the poultry industry and former AVMA Congressional Science Fellow, dispelled arguments related to human antibiotic-resistance risks.

"Antibiotics are necessary for veterinarians to protect the health and well-being of animals," Dr. Keck said. "Benefits to animals and people outweigh the current risk associated with bacterial resistance. Going forward, we need to let good sense and good science guide this issue."

Dr. Rene Carlson, former Wisconsin Veterinarian of the Year and past-vice president of the AVMA, explained the indispensable role that antibiotics play in treating various ailments that affect household pets and the process that veterinarians use to determine whether or not to use antibiotics.

Natalie Berkhout

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