Is Your Pet Contributing To Antibiotic Resistance?

This week is Antibiotic Resistance Awareness week and you and your pet may be contributing to this worldwide problem.  Learn all about the situation here!

What is Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is the phenomenon where infections bacteria and other microbes (viruses, parasites, etc.) become resistant and even immune to the available treatments for them.  Antibiotics that have worked against bacterial infections for decades are now becoming useless against new strains that have become immune.

Why is this a big deal?

Antibiotic resistance affects everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or previous health history.  Dangerous infectious diseases (called pathogens) are becoming resistant to antibiotics and antivirals faster than our scientist are able to create new ones.  Human behavior has been accelerating the rate of antibiotic resistance at an alarming rate and it may result in formerly treatable infections becoming fatal.  This can also result in longer medical stays, the use of medications with severe side effects, and increased healthcare costs for people across the globe.

How do I help reduce my contributions to antibiotic resistance?

  • Use plain soap: Skip the hand sanitizer and the antimicrobial soaps:  Plain old soap will clean your hands just as well and not overly expose bacterial populations to antimicrobials.
  • Update your vaccines: If you and your pet are vaccinated against an infections disease, your body will provide immunity to the disease and prevent your need for future treatments – including using antibiotics.
  • Follow the exact directions of your antibiotics when you’re prescribed them: If they say to take them twice per day, take them twice per day.
  • Don’t leave any extra: Take the ENTIRE course of antibiotics you were given.  If you were given 2 weeks worth, take them as directed for the entire 2 weeks.  Don’t stop halfway through just because you’re feeling better.
  • Don’t share any leftovers with friends or family: The dosage prescribed was for you and your specific infection. Sharing leftovers (which you wouldn’t have because you whould have taken them all, right?) with others is dangerous because the dosage is likely incorrect, the antibiotic used to treat your infection may do nothing for theirs, and some people have lethal allergies to some antibiotics.
  • If your healthcare provider says you don’t need antibiotics, do not demand them: Antibiotics will do nothing against the common cold, since the common cold is a virus and antibiotics only work on bacterial infections.  If your doctor feels it is better to skip the antibiotics, listen to him or her.
  • Remember that all of these apply to your pets: Help them reduce their contributions to antibiotic resistance!

Here at Emerald Animal Hospital, our top priority is pet health.  As more and more diseases become resistant to our available antibiotics, there will only be so much we can do to save your pet’s life.  Help us make sure this doesn’t happen! If your pet isn’t feeling well, give us a call at 216-688-3737 to set up an appointment and we’ll set up a treatment plan for you and your pet.

To learn more about Antibiotic Resistance, check out these articles by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  You can also test your knowledge with this quiz by WHO!