Antibiotic Use and Abuse
Antibiotics are one of the most important classes of veterinary and human medicinal products that are available to us as doctors to ensure the health and wellbeing of our patients under our care. Along with great news, often comes a gloomy side. The overuse of antibiotics to treat simple infections and non-infectious diseases has lead to the development of Methicillin Resistant Staph. coccus bacteria (MRS). MRS can be resistant to many different antibiotics depending on the strain. Some strains are even resistant to vancomycin, an antibiotic used in the most difficult cases of human infection.
In the beginning, doctors were unsure whether there was any connection between the resistant staph bacteria in humans and the same disease seen in animals. Currently, we know that the bacteria is transmitted from animals to man and from man to animals. Proper diagnosis is essential to preventing spread of the bacteria and in some cases both the human and the pet have to be treated in order to clear the infection
This underscores the seriousness of overuse and abuse of antibiotics.
MRS in veterinary medicine appears to be most common in pets with weak immune systems from cancer treatments, prolonged steroid use, severe illness, etc… The signs of a MRA infection include abscesses, skin infections, surgical sites, etc. that respond poorly or not at all to antibiotics. A true diagnosis requires a culture and sensitivity test by your veterinarian.
These are the steps I have taken at the Old Capital Veterinary Hospital to insure responsible use of antibiotics and help reduce the occurrence of this devastating disease in our world:
1) WORK WITH YOU, THE CLIENT, TO AVOID UNNECESSARY USE OF ANTIBIOTICS—remember not all illnesses are cured with antibiotics.
2) WORK WITH YOU AGAIN TO AVOID THE NEED FOR ANTIBIOTICS – the annual wellness exam helps prevent disease and maintain optimum health.
3) CHOSE THE RIGHT DRUG FOR THE RIGHT BUG – Culturing a bacterial infection will find the appropriate antibiotic.
4) MINIMIZE PROPHALACTIC USE—I choose to rely on sterile surgery rather than send your pet home on antibiotics after the surgery.
5) REPORT SUSPECTED ANTIBIOTIC FAILURES TO THE AUTHORITIES—I work to prevent the suffering from infections in both pets and humans.
What do you think? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Has anyone delt with resistant bacteria? Please leave a comment
Antifreeze and engine coolant manufactured in the United States will now contain a bitter flavoring agent to prevent animals and children from being poisoned by the sweet-tasting liquid. Although legislation has been passed in several states, the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) and the Humane Society Legislative Fund jointly announced a few years ago that the industry would now voluntarily add the flavoring agent to products for sale on the consumer market in all 50 states.
“Poisoning occurs because animals are attracted to the sweetness of antifreeze and engine coolant, which inadvertently spills in our driveways or is left in open containers in garages,” the joint release says. HSLF says estimates range from 10,000 to 90,000 animals are poisoned each year from ingesting ethylene glycol, the toxic substance used in antifreeze. The release claims that one teaspoon of antifreeze or engine coolant can kill an average-sized cat.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says ethylene glycol is rapidly absorbed following ingestion, leading to systemic toxicity beginning with effects on the central nervous system, followed by cardiopulmonary effects and, finally, renal failure. Clinical signs may be more subtle in animals than humans.
Treatment after ingestion is costly and not reliable. If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze please call us immediately.