Drug resistance among internal parasites of cattle and other ruminants is an emerging problem in North America, and more data is needed for development of strategies to protect the efficacy of existing antiparasitic drugs. Toward that end, the FDA is initiating a survey of veterinarians to gauge awareness and compile data on prevalence of resistance and strategies veterinarians are using to detect and manage against resistance development.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the survey will take place between Sept. 29 and Nov. 3, and is part of a larger strategy intended to combat a developing problem of antiparasitic drug resistance in the U.S. and worldwide. The AVMA and other veterinary organizations will be working with the FDA to build awareness and distribute links to the online survey, according to an article from JAVMA News.

Dr. Janis R. Messenheimer, a supervisory veterinary medical officer for the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), says the FDA hopes to gather information on what veterinarians see in daily practice, what they know about antiparasitic drug resistance, and how they deal with it. And conducting the survey itself could increase awareness, she said. “It’s to help with educational outreach and to make the information available to others who are interested,” she says. “It’s really to help us collaborate better.”

In April 2013, FDA released a paper with recommendations for detecting and preventing drug-resistant parasites, with a focus on “refugia.” The refugia concept involves leaving some animals in a herd untreated, to maintain a population of drug-susceptible parasites within the environment. The paper, along with industry feedback and discussion of the recommendations are available on the FDA website.

Information on the Ruminant and Equine Antiparasitic Drug Use and Antiparasitic Resistance Survey will be available on the FDA/CVM and AVMA websites.