VET’S VIEW: Advice on antibiotics for your pet

ARTHUR WELCH, one of the original owners of our practice, before it became Northdale, once reminisced about his early days as a vet, shortly after leaving the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, in which he served during the war.

Medicines were in short supply in those days, he recalled, and we had little more than three types of aspirin on the shelves – red, white and blue.

“We’d try the white ones,” he said, “and if they didn’t work, we’d move onto the blue.”

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Nowadays, it’s easy to take the availability of effective medicines for granted.

But it may not always be the case – antibiotic-resistant bacteria are widely recognised as a problem in human medicine, which is likely to grow, and so in response to these concerns, veterinary surgeons across Europe are looking at how they use antibiotics to try and prevent resistance spreading.

Much of the attention is focused on farming, where antibiotics can be used on a large scale, but pet owners
 are also being reminded 
that these drugs need to be 
used responsibly.

The Federation of Veterinarians in Europe (FVE) has published guidelines for owners:-

• Remember that not every infectious disease requires antibiotic treatment (for example, viral infections, superficial cat bite wounds).

• When treating an infection, it may be necessary to carry out diagnostic tests, to ensure that an effective antibiotic is used.

• If your pet is prescribed antibiotics, make sure you finish the course as directed and do not be tempted to keep back antibiotics for later use or use them on other pets, as this may increase the risk of resistance developing.

• Observing good hygiene and keeping your animal healthy by making sure it is well fed and regular vaccinated and treated for parasites will help it to fight infection naturally.

If you have worries or questions in relation to antibiotic resistance, do not hesitate to discuss these with your veterinary surgeon.