New recommendations on the responsible use of antiparasitics in dogs and cats

The UK's leading veterinary organizations have issued new joint recommendations on the use of dewormers in small animals in response to concerns about the impact of some treatments on the environment.

The new British Veterinary Association (BVA), British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), and British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) position statement on "Responsible Use of Dewormers in Cats and Dogs" recommend that veterinarians always opt for a proportionate, specific and responsible approach to the use of parasiticides in small animals and carefully assess all risks before prescribing or recommending treatment.

There is a majority concern about the impact of some treatments on the environment

These recommendations come in response to the BVA's Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, which found that 98% of companion animal veterinarians are concerned about the impact of some treatments on the environment, and more than two in five (42%) feel very worried.

"The impact of companion animal dewormers on the environment is an issue of increasing concern to the veterinary profession," says Dr. Justine Shotton, President of the BVA. "Our new joint position not only highlights areas of concern and recommendations on the responsible use of these medicines but also how veterinary professionals can act to protect the environment. We recognize that some of the recommendations will mean a substantial change in the approach of many clinics, but we are encouraged by the feeling that the profession needs a more risk-based approach, "adds the president.

There is growing concern that some pesticides commonly used as flea treatments could pollute the environment and harm wildlife, ecosystems and public health. Contamination can occur through animal waste or the discharge of products into rivers from household sewage. There is also a growing interest in the creation of resistances.

There is more research on human, animal, and environmental health

The BVA survey also reveals that almost nine in ten (87%) companion animal veterinarians agree that the environmental impact of companion animal medications should be assessed. The BVA says that while risk assessment is essential, knowledge gaps regarding dewormers and parasites make analysis difficult.

Due to these findings, the BVA, BSAVA, and BVZS are calling for further research in areas such as the risks of parasites and the diseases they carry on human and animal health and the risks of commonly used dewormers and combination products in human, animal, and environmental health.

For more information on the recommendations for the responsible use of antiparasitics in dogs and cats, click on this link.

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