Rapid in-house sensitivity testing could markedly increase veterinary confidence in prescribing antibiotics for UTIs, according to new survey data from diagnostics company Test and Treat. The survey, which was conducted at the VetsNow ECC Virtual Congress, found that only 47% of vets currently feel confident prescribing antibiotics for suspected UTIs in the absence of culture and sensitivity results. However, 84% would be confident if they were able to use a rapid in-house sensitivity test. These results highlight the veterinary profession’s awareness of antibiotic resistance, and suggest that point-of-care sensitivity tests such as Test and Treat’s U-Treat assay may provide a popular tool to combat this problem.
Test and Treat’s survey included a total of 117 veterinary professionals: 76 vets, 34 nurses and 7 other practice staff who virtually attended the VetsNow ECC Congress in November. Participants were asked a number of questions on antibiotic resistance and UTI management. Of those surveyed, 77% reported that they were concerned about the increasing emergence of antimicrobial resistance.
The pressing need to combat resistance is a major driver for Test and Treat’s work, as Rachel Kirkby MRCVS, the company’s Business Development Director, explains. “Antibiotic resistance is a huge threat to both human and animal healthcare across the world,” she says. “We all need to work together to address it, and at Test and Treat we want to make it easier for vets in practice to do their bit by prescribing antibiotics according to best practice.”
The problem is that while many vets are keen to tackle resistance, it is not always easy to avoid empirical prescribing in practice. In fact, of the vets surveyed, 65% reported that they are typically not able to obtain an accurate clinical diagnosis prior to prescribing antimicrobial therapy. “It can be frustrating for vets to have to prescribe empirically when they don’t have any information on antibiotic sensitivity,” says Rachel Kirkby. “But logistical constraints often mean that it’s not practical to send samples off to the lab.”
This was the challenge that inspired Test and Treat to develop its point-of-care test for UTIs. The U-Treat system consists of two rapid tests: a 5-minute assay that can confirm the presence of infection and a 30-minute assay that evaluates antibiotic sensitivity. With this diagnostic tool, vets can therefore select and prescribe the most appropriate antibiotic within an hour. “Since you get results so quickly, you can use the test while the owner waits – or, in the current situation, more likely goes for a walk and comes back,” says Rachel Kirkby. “This means that vets can get their patients started on the most appropriate treatment right away.”
By enabling rapid prescription of antibiotics according to best practice, the U-Treat test therefore allows vets not only to combat resistance but also to improve patient outcomes. The technology is currently validated for use in dogs and cats, and the company is also looking to license it in rabbits and human healthcare. To find out more about U-Treat, email Test and Treat’s National Sales Manager Jo Nickerson or visit http://www.tandtreat.com.