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