The former president of a land-grant university says the shortage of large-animal veterinarians could create additional challenges in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
The FDA's new Veterinary Feed Directive requires veterinary diagnosis before an antibiotic can be appropriately used in animal production.
But, Dr. Bob Easter, president emeritus of the University of Illinois says farmers need access to veterinarians to proceed with treatment of animals. “There's something like 20 percent of the counties in the United States that there is not an actual practicing veterinarian,” he says. “One begins to ask the question how producers in that area actually comply with requirements, with law in the absence of a professional that can provide the service that's necessary.”
He tells Brownfield industry stakeholders are looking at ways to incentivize veterinarians to practice in rural areas. Easter says they're also examining the possibility of creating a position similar to that of a nurse practitioner – but for animal health. “That doesn't, to my knowledge currently exist in veterinary medicine,” he says. “And so – is there a possibility somewhere down the road that there might emerge a category of para-professionals who would have the ability to do some of this on behalf of producers.”