Can my pet become antibiotic resistant?
The short answer is yes your pet can become antibiotic resistant.
Most people don’t really know what antibiotic resistance is. Simply put, it is when an infection persists despite the use of an antibiotic and therefore renders it useless. This results in a new treatment needing to be found.
What Causes Resistance?
It is not uncommon for people and animals to be treated with antibiotics no matter the nature of their illness. The problem with this method is that antibiotics do not fix everything. Antibiotics will not work on a virus. Antibiotics only target bacterial infections. The flu, a cold, most respiratory infections are caused by a virus, not bacteria. The continual exposure to antibiotics also makes bacteria tolerant to the antibiotics. This is what renders the antibiotics ineffective due to overuse. The most well-known bacteria to become antibiotic-resistant is a bacteria that mutated to become resistant. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the best known of these.
How do you get over exposed?
Treating a viral infection with antibiotics is the number one way. The number two way is not completing your full course of prescribed antibiotics. It is common for people to stop giving antibiotics once their pets appear healthy. But appearing healthy does not mean the infection is completely gone. If you stop giving the antibiotics mid-course, you could allow the infection to come back and thus require more antibiotics. This causes the bacteria to become resistant to the treatment course.
Did you know?
Did you know that your own pet’s health can influence how he responds to antibiotics? Some medications rely on your pet’s healthy immune system to be effective.
How to avoid becoming antibiotic resistant
Always follow the advice of your veterinarian and always give the full course of antibiotics. Do not give your pet human antibiotics. I know it can be tempting to take your left over amoxicillin and give it to your pet if they are sick. However, the dosages are different. Plus, not all antibiotics are created equal and that might not be the right one to give them. Using the wrong antibiotic can also create resistance.
Why is antibiotic resistance such a big deal?
The more resistance bacteria becomes, the more difficult it is to treat. For every bacteria that mutates and becomes resistant, the number of treatment options are reduced. This is why MRSA is so difficult to treat. Infections are treated with the antibiotic that is most affective against it. If it becomes resistant to that bacteria you are now having to use alternate courses that may not be as effective or may have more difficult side effects. To ensure the ongoing health of your pet, you want to do what you can to prevent antibiotic resistance.