Wormer resistance risk in livestock could see tighter controls in UK

Dangerous levels of wormer resistance in grazing animals in the UK could result in tighter controls of anthelmintic use, vets have warned.

Calls have been made by the veterinary industry to restrict the accessibility of wormers to farmers by only allowing vets to prescribe the products and prohibiting Suitably Qualified Persons (SQP).

The British Veterinary Association has written to the veterinary medicines regulator, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), calling for the classification of all wormers to be changed to POM-V. The move would mean only vets would have the power to prescribe a wormer to livestock.

SQPs have been blamed as one of the main reasons for dangerous levels of wormer resistance in grazing animals. The BVA say SQPS do not have the same level of expertise as a vet on the subject.

BVA president Peter Jones warned wormer resistance was a major problem in the UK. He said: “resistance must be addressed vigorously if the livestock industry is to avoid a potentially disastrous situation of being unable to tackle parasites in grazing animals.

“Anthelmintics should only be prescribed by a vet who has the animals under his/her care and based on a sound clinical diagnosis,” he said.

Mr Jones stressed the UK must be brought in line with the rest of Europe and that Europe-wide legislation was needed to safeguard the ability of the products to work.

The UK is currently the only country in Europe that classifies wormers as POM-VPS, meaning they can be prescribed and dispensed by a SQP and vet. The BVA is also pushing for tighter rules to be placed across all EU member states regarding the accessibility of wormers.

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