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Antibiosis Policy Statement



Antimicrobial resistance is a global health issue and one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.1  In line with WHO and FVE recommendations, EALAS recommends that we should avoid using antibiotics in experimental surgery. The use of antibiotics should not be a substitute for questionable surgical technique and poor compliance, or implementation of aseptic technique.


Contemporary best surgical practice is essential for both good science and good animal welfare and comprises:

  • Aseptic technique, atraumatic technique, meticulous haemostasis, obliteration of dead space, precise and tension-free wound closure with preservation of vascularization


Most experimental surgery is carried out in controlled conditions, so antibiotics are unnecessary for the majority of surgical procedures. Antibiotics may be required prophylactically only in specific circumstances and procedures, which should be agreed beforehand and detailed in the study plan in accordance with your Designated Veterinarian for advice.


What is antibioprophylaxis?

  • Antibioprophylaxis is the preoperative administration of antibiotics to an uninfected patient to reduce the incidence of postoperative infections.

  • Antibiotic prophylaxis should only be used in patients at high risk of developing postoperative infections.

  • Note that giving antimicrobials at the end of surgery, or shortly afterwards does not constitute prophylaxis and is not considered good practice.


Should be considered only for specific procedures:

  • Class I ‘Clean’ surgeries if

       - the consequences of an infection endanger the life of the animal

       - Device implant in immunocompromised host

  • Class II ‘Clean-contaminated’ surgeries (e.g. those involving entry into respiratory, genito-urinary or GI       tract; invasive surgery lasting longer than 2 hours)

  • Class III ‘Contaminated surgeries’ (eg. As Class II, but those involving leakage of content, or surgery           involving inflamed tissues). Note that other measures, such as lavage/drainage, are also required in           these cases.


Targeted antibiotic therapy may be used, only when indicated but not in a routine fashion. This is consistent with the One Health approach to preserving antimicrobial potency for therapeutic treatment of humans and animals – and the research community is a part of this good practice!

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