Antibiotic Power! Responsible Antibiotic Use in Pets

responsible antibiotics use in petsAntibiotics are amazing. In modern veterinary medicine we rely on them in order to help us help pets. Whether it be by preventing bone infection after an orthopedic procedure, treating pneumonia, or helping a wicked hot spot, there is no doubt that we would be in a bad position without antibiotics.

With great power, though, comes great responsibility. November 13th kicks off the CDC’s Get Smart About Antibiotics Week. Join Berkeley Veterinary Center as we explore what our role in responsible antibiotic use in pets look like.

Antibiotic Resistance

The main concern when it comes to responsible antibiotic use in pets is antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance happens when a microorganism develops the ability to survive and reproduce in the presence of an antibiotic that would normally kill or inactivate it.

The development of antibiotic resistance is really quite complex. While we don’t know everything that goes into this process, we do understand that to an extent survival of the fittest is at play. If an organism has a change in its DNA that makes it resistant to an antibiotic, it will survive use and continue to reproduce other organisms with the same genetic mutation. This is much more likely to occur in an environment where the antibiotic is used at too low of a dose, for too short of a time, or repeatedly in a short period.

What antibiotic resistance means is that we end up with superbugs such as MRSA that aren’t able to be treated with traditional drugs. This is bad for our pets, but is even worse for humans who often rely on the same drugs that our pets do to treat various conditions.

Your Role in Responsible Antibiotic Use in Pets

So what can you as a pet owner do in order to help support responsible antibiotic use in pets? There are really many things that you can do to help! Start with:

  • Administering the full course of antibiotics that we prescribe as directed
  • Call us with questions if you are unsure of how to give a medication or are having trouble
  • Allowing us to perform bacterial cultures where recommended to ensure appropriate antibiotic selection
  • Avoiding medicating with leftover antibiotics without veterinary supervision (hint: you should never have leftover antibiotics)
  • Storing prescribed antibiotics appropriately
  • Allowing exams as necessary to confirm that antibiotic use is indicated

If we tell you that we need to see your pet in order to prescribe medications, or we tell you that antibiotics are not indicated, it is for good reason. Our staff at Berkeley Veterinary Center has your pet’s health at heart. This also means protecting antibiotics so that we can continue to use them effectively when your pets need them most. We hope that you will join our efforts in practicing the best veterinary medicine has to offer.

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