One of the greatest threats to human and animal health is antibiotic resistance and the emergence of 'superbugs'.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that 'unless urgent action is taken on the use of antibiotics in humans and animals, the world is heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill'.
In fact, Australian veterinarians have guidelines in place to ensure they are not overprescribing or misusing antibiotics and help prevent a global catastrophe.
Here are some essential things to understand:
- Antibiotics can only be helpful in the presence of a bacterial infection. They cannot treat viral infections and are not needed in clean wounds
- Your Vet sometimes need to identify the type of bacteria present to help choose the most appropriate antibiotic and this involves taking samples for culture and sensitivity testing. This may need to be done at an external laboratory
- If your pet is prescribed antibiotics you must always use them as directed and finish the course, even if you think your pet is 'better' - stopping too early can lead to the development of resistant bacteria
- A revisit to your Vet may be necessary to check your pet and extend the course of antibiotics if necessary
- Never start any 'left over' antibiotics you have before you get your pet checked with a Veterinarian.
And finally, it is against the law for your Veterinarian to prescribe antibiotics without a consultation. Even though this may be inconvenient, it is essential in ensuring that antibiotics are not wrongly or over prescribed.