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PIJAC Releases Recommendations for Antibiotic Stewardship


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The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) has unveiled an industry-wide, comprehensive set of recommendations for antibiotic stewardship and combatting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in companion animals. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that two million people are infected with resistant strains of bacteria and 23,000 deaths result from antibiotic resistance in the U.S. annually. Two relatively common bacteria species that have resistant strains, campylobacter and salmonella, are also common in pets, making responsible use of antibiotics in companion animals an important concern.

“Antibiotic resistant germs are a growing and serious health risk to both humans and animals,” said Savonne Caughey, PIJAC director of government affairs. “Last year, PIJAC committed to work with the pet care community to create best management practices to combat AMR as part of our participation in the U.S. government’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Challenge.”

The recommendations encompass a unified set of principles for all sectors of the pet care community, with an emphasis on those involved in the breeding, rearing, transport and sale of companion animals as well as those who work with products where antibiotics regularly intersect with animals. They provide expert advice and best management practices on topics including use of antibiotics, sanitation, hygiene, veterinary oversight and zoonotic disease prevention, among others.

“PIJAC is proud to have served as the pet industry’s liaison on public health issues and zoonotic disease prevention for over a decade through our memorandum of understanding with the CDC,” said Mike Bober, PIJAC president and CEO. “These recommendations are another demonstration of PIJAC and the pet care community’s commitment to promoting the health and well-being of animals and humans alike.”

PIJAC piloted the guide’s development through an extensive process of gathering resources, conducting research and consulting with specialists, professionals and others in a variety of pet care roles. The final recommendations were developed by a working group comprised of stakeholders and experts including pet care retailers, breeders, distributors, authorities in animal care, and representatives from the veterinary medicine and health communities and other trade associations.

“This is the first-ever set of recommendations for antibiotic stewardship in the pet care community,” said Laura “Peach” Reid, PIJAC board chair and president of Fish Mart, Inc., in West Haven, Conn. “With widespread adoption, they will help inhibit the development of resistant germs and ensure healthier pets and healthier people around the world.”

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