Policy: Judicious use of antimicrobials


The New Zealand Veterinary Association encourages effective collaboration between the veterinary profession, Government, human health organisations, the wider public and international organisations in order to preserve the ongoing efficacy of antimicrobials. Judicious use of antimicrobials, infection prevention and control, and effective preventive animal health care programmes are critical to reduce and avoid serious consequences related to antimicrobial resistance.

Expectations for veterinarians authorising the use of antibiotics set out in the VCNZ Code of Professional Conduct should be followed and enforced.


The use of antibiotics provides an effective method for the treatment and control of infectious diseases caused by bacteria and certain other micro-organisms. Use of antimicrobials supports positive animal welfare outcomes, and allows for production of meat, egg and milk products that are safe for the consumer.

In treating animals with antimicrobials, veterinarians should aim to optimise therapeutic efficacy and minimise the potential for the development of resistance to antimicrobials.

Inappropriate use of antibiotics should not be accepted as a substitute for good management and husbandry practices. Any antimicrobial use increases selection pressure for resistance

The NZVA’s Judicious Use Guidelines provide species-specific information for veterinarians regarding antimicrobial treatment options for infectious diseases in animals. The NZVA also promotes the categorisation of antimicrobials into a cascade of use-preference, based upon their risk with respect to risk to development and transfer of resistance genes.


  • Use of antimicrobials must be preceded by robust clinical judgment.
  • The Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act and the ACVM Notice (Requirements for Authorising Veterinarians) sets out expectations for stewardship of RVMs

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