Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore owners’ knowledge of antibiotics, experience of antibiotic use in their cats and involvement in decision-making regarding antibiotic prescriptions. Methods: Cat owners were recruited via social media and veterinary practices to complete a survey designed to evaluate general knowledge of antibiotics, attitudes to antibiotic stewardship and experiences of antibiotic use in their own cat between November 2017 and March 2018. Data were analysed descriptively. Results: A total of 1436 surveys were completed; 247 respondents (17.2%) had a veterinary background. The majority of the remaining respondents correctly identified that antibiotics treat bacterial infections (84.0%; n = 999) but do not treat viral infections (72.8%; n = 865). A minority (n = 338; 28.4%) agreed that antibiotic resistance was a problem in cats in the UK; 92.3% (n = 1097) identified that resistance was a problem in human medicine. Seventy percent (n = 832) of the respondents’ cats had received antibiotics; 29.6% (n = 246) received a long-acting injectable antibiotic (14 days’ duration). Diagnostic tests were performed before antibiotic prescription in 38.7% (n = 322) cats; 1.4% (n = 7) of respondents reported declining suggested tests and 65.8% (n = 778) indicated that they would be happy to pay for diagnostic tests to allow selection of the most appropriate antibiotic. Most respondents (95.8%; n = 792) indicated that they were happy to follow their veterinarian’s advice and recommendations; however, 49.2% (n = 405) had expected antibiotics to be prescribed. Conclusions and relevance: Cat owners demonstrated good knowledge of antibiotic action; however, greater owner education regarding the potential for veterinary antibiotic resistance, requirement for diagnostic testing and training in administration of oral medication with first-line antibiotics, as well as use of veterinary antibiotic guidelines, will improve antibiotic stewardship. Good communication between veterinarians and owners is necessary for rational antibiotic use.
- antimicrobial stewardship