Amongst people it is stated that common infections will once again kill as the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs has a devastating effect on modern medicine – World Health Organisation.
In the UK, patients infected with superbugs are twice as likely to die as those with non-resistant infections. Resistance to antibiotics is already on the way and minor scratches and infections could kill people in the future unless there is a rethink about the prescribing of antibiotics and the prevention of infections.
Prof Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer in the UK warned that antibiotic resistance posed an “apocalyptic” menace which should be ranked alongside terrorism as a threat to the nation.
This made me think about our companion animals and veterinary treatment. If doctors are prone to overprescribing antibiotics as a “magic pill” and if patients are expecting a prescription for antibiotics even when it is inappropriate, it is reasonable to believe that something similar might be taking place in veterinary surgeries across the country.
When a veterinarian is unable to fully diagnose an infection which may be viral or bacterial, as a precaution, some veterinarians may prescribe antibiotics and today there is a two-week antibiotic injection as a precautionary treatment but it may not be the right treatment.
Antibiotics prescribed to pets usually won’t cause harm them but they shouldn’t be prescribed unless there is a reason to do so and is argued that they should be prescribed with care. Alternative treatment should be considered sometimes. Cat owners should not expect prescriptions of antibiotics unless it is certain that their cat has a bacterial, yeast or fungal infection.
Once antibiotics are used on a companion animal there is the potential for the animal to develop a resistant population of bacteria. In the future, when an antibiotic is genuinely required the infection may be resistant to the drug and become unmanageable.
Amongst people, some of the world’s most common infections are becoming resistant to antibiotics and standard drugs but in some countries this problem is not being properly monitored. We don’t know exactly what is happening.
When I read those words I wondered whether we know what is happening in the pet world – in veterinary clinics? If it can happen in the human world it might be happening in the companion animal world as well.