Wiser antimicrobial use

AniCura’s clinics have reduced unnecessary use of antibiotics for four consecutive years.

Unnecessary use of antibiotics accelerates the spread of resistant bacteria which is one of the biggest global threats against human and animal health. With three million patient visits every year, AniCura can have significant impact on the use of antibiotics in companion animal care.


For the fifth year in a row, AniCura measured the use of systemic antibiotics among 23,308 dogs at 165 clinics. Throughout a one week sampling period, clinics recorded what antimicrobial substances were used in dogs for systemic treatment or prophylaxis,
and for which indication.

In total, 1,914 dogs received antibiotics during the measured week, which corresponds to 8%. The incidence of antibiotic use varied among clinics from treated, to 55% of the canine patients. In addition, the mean incidence per country differed from 3.4 to 14%. The significant country and clinic variations were addressed in the feedback to clinics. AniCura’s goal for antibiotic use is for no more than 5% of AniCura’s patients to receive antibiotics in 2030.

The results from this study are unique as authorities in Europe do not measure use of antibiotics for companion animals. This year’s feedback to clinics was categorized according to the European Medicines Agency proposal.


In 2020, AniCura’s strategic group for antibiotic use produced guidelines for our eight most common indications for systemic antibiotic use; surgical antibiotic prophylaxis, wound infections and abscesses, gastro-intestinal disorders, skin infections, urinary tract infections, dental procedures, and lower and upper respiratory diseases. This group was formed in 2019 and has representatives from several countries and work to accelerate AniCura’s achievements to ensure wiser antimicrobial use.


  • More than 65% of clinics reduced antibiotics use. 18% clinics reduced use with more than 10%.
  • Surgical prophylaxis was the most common indication for dogs receiving antibiotics (23%) followed by wound infections including abscesses (22%), skin infections (dermatitis, furunculosis etc) (12%), gastro-intestinal disorders (10%), and urinary tract infections (7%).
  • The most commonly used antimicrobial class was beta-lactam antibiotics (72%).
  • Most dogs were treated empirically (78%), i.e. without any diagnostic aid like bacteriology and/or cytology results.
  • Duration of treatment varied from one to 90 days with a median of seven days which was similar to last year’s result.