Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance and the responsible use of antibiotics

Written by: Alison Laurie, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness

Your pet may have been prescribed antibiotics in the past.  Antibiotics are commonly used drugs in Veterinary practice and many of these are the same or are closely related to those used in the treatment of bacterial infections in humans.  Recently there has been a raised awareness of antibiotic resistance as worryingly antibiotic resistance can create "superbugs”, multi-resistant bacteria which can be deadly to pets and humans.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern for veterinary and human global healthcare leaders and policy makers, and there is lots of guidance out there now for your Vet on how to choose the right drugs, on a case-by-case basis, to help stop the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics are precious and are essential drugs for treating bacterial infections. They have brought many benefits to humans and domestic animals by enabling the treatment of infection that in years past previously caused severe illnesses and death. Unfortunately, antibiotics have become victims of their own success and their increasing usage has unfortunately led to the development of antibacterial resistance.

We want to ensure that we continue to have antibiotics that are still as effective in the future. There has recently been a reduced rate of development of new antibiotic drugs, so we really need to protect the effectiveness of the antibiotics that we currently have through their responsible usage and stewardship. 

The Vet will be aware of guidelines for responsible antibiotic use and their selection of any treatments will now reflect current recommendations. Not all illnesses require antibiotics, for example; young cats with blood in their urine due to a stress-induced lower urinary tract disease, or some yeast ear infections which require appropriate regular ear cleaning do not always require antibiotics. For appropriate antibiotic treatment there should be a real justification for their use based on a diagnosis and then by choosing the most appropriate sensitive antibiotic so that it is most effective for that particular infection. Also, it is very important for correct usage to follow your Vets advice, directions and guidance and give the correct calculated dose of antibiotics for your pet for the advised length of time and always complete the full course of treatment.

Hopefully with a raised awareness of antibiotic resistance we can protect our current antibiotics and in turn protect animals and humans from further super-bug infections.