PhD Upgrade | Antibiotic Use in the Care of Pet Dogs: A Mixed-Methods Anthropologically Informed Study

PhD Upgrade: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a recognised global threat to human and animal health. To date, most efforts to tackle it have focussed on antimicrobial use in humans and livestock. Analysis of prescribing data has revealed that antimicrobials are frequently used in companion animal care. As we share our lives, homes and antimicrobials with our pets, this could play an important but, to date, overlooked role in the emergence and spread of community-acquired AMR.

By using a mixed-methods approach, Alice Tompson hopes to gain a more complete picture of antibiotic use in the care of pet dogs. She will analyse quantitative prescribing data collated by the Royal Veterinary College’s VetCompass surveillance system. These analyses will help to direct the focus of her fieldwork.

Primarily based at 2-3 small animal veterinary practices, Alice will use ethnographic methods such as participant observation to gain insight into ideas of care, multi-species relations and the roles of antibiotics. She will pilot a “walk and talk” method of interviewing owners whilst dog walking to explore their perspectives and interactions with their pets. Her research will also be informed by other spaces occupied by dogs such as “doggy day care” and puppy training classes. By exploring up- and down- stream from the point of prescribing, antibiotic use will be placed in the broader economic, political and historical context.

The proposed project will produce a nuanced understanding of the interdependencies involved in the use of antibiotics in the care of pet dogs informing sustainable stewardship interventions for this setting.



Alice Tompson joined LSHTM in 2017 to undertake a Bloomsbury Colleges funded PhD investigating antibiotic use in companion animal care. Previously, she worked as a primary care researcher at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in Oxford looking at patient self-monitoring of long term conditions. She has an MSc in Public Health from LSHTM.

Alice would love a pet dog but, in the meantime, has two guinea pigs.



Speaker: Alice Tompson

Date: Tuesday, 2 Oct 2018

Time: 12.30-2pm

Venue: Jerry Morris A, Tavistock Place