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Antibiotic usage in our pets

September 11, 2016

Increasingly we are hearing about how antibiotic resistance is on the rise and is a threat to global health in both the human and the animal world.

Antibiotics are important and many infections cannot be managed without antibiotics, but resistance towards these is becoming an issue. Owners and veterinarians need to work together to use antibiotics in a responsible way.

Diagnostics are important. To investigate if a bacterial infection is the cause of your animal’s illness, the veterinarian might need to collect samples to look for signs of infection or to identify the bacteria involved through bacterial culture. Supporting this will increase the chance of your animal’s recovery, enabling us to choose the right antibiotic the first time.

Are antibiotics really necessary? Not all infections are caused by bacteria, e.g. some are viral and do not respond to antibiotics. Also, not all bacterial infections require antibiotic therapy.

Many wound and skin infections can be resolved by local wound care and antibacterial washes.

Do not expect antibiotics. If your veterinarian does not prescribe antibiotics there will be a reason for this. In most cases it is not appropriate to use antibiotics in a precautionary manner. If you don’t understand why your pet has/hasn’t been prescribed antibiotics please ask.

Handle your animal in a clean way. Always use gloves and disinfect your hands before and after attending to wounds or cleaning ears.

Always follow the veterinary instructions on medications:

  • Only give the antibiotics as instructed and for the full course prescribed.
  • Contact your veterinarian if the treatment is not effective within the recommended period.
  • Do not change dosage or stop the medication in advance and keep your follow up appointments.
  • Do not share antibiotics with other animals or animal  owners.
  • Never use left over medicines.