It is almost impossible to imagine veterinary medicine today without the use of antimicrobials. Shortly after their discovery, antimicrobials found their way into the veterinary world. They have brought many benefits for the health and welfare of both animals and people, such as the lessening of pain and suffering, reduction in shedding of (zoonotic) bacteria and the containment of potentially large-scale epidemics. Indirectly, they also contribute to food security, protection of livelihoods and animal resources, and poverty alleviation. Given the broad range of animal species under veterinary care and the enormous variety of infectious agents, a complete range of antimicrobials is needed in veterinary medicine. Losing products, either through the occurrence of resistance or through a prohibition on their use, will have serious consequences for the health and welfare of all animals. It will also seriously affect people who depend on these animals. It is a great challenge to everyone involved to stop the growing trend of antimicrobial resistance and to safeguard the effectiveness of antimicrobials for the future. Transparent and responsible use of antimicrobials, together with continuous monitoring and surveillance of the occurrence of resistance, are key elements of any strategy. The current situation also urges us to re-think unsustainable practices and to work on the development of alternatives, in the interests of the health and welfare of both animals and people.
Animal – Antimicrobial – Clinical impact – One Health – Resistance – Responsible use.