What causes antibiotic resistance in dogs? Antibiotic resistance is a problem across the world, but it’s happening with dogs too. Scientists estimate that in 2030, 10 million people will die from antibiotic-resistant infections each year. In addition to this alarming number, experts also believe that within 2 decades, antibiotics won’t work for many of the bacterial infections we rely on them for today.
Antibiotics and antimicrobial agents used in veterinary medicine can lead to drug resistance and therefore more difficult treatment options for animals and humans alike. This article will discuss how antibiotic resistance happens in animals and what you can do about it today.
What is Antibiotic Resistance?
Antibiotic resistance is a problem across the world, but it’s happening with dogs too. Scientists estimate that in 2030, 10 million people will die from antibiotic-resistant infections each year. In addition to this alarming number, experts also believe that within 2 decades, antibiotics won’t work for many of the bacterial infections we rely on them for today.
Antibiotics and antimicrobial agents used in veterinary medicine can lead to drug resistance and therefore more difficult treatment options for animals and humans alike.
Antibiotic Resistance in Animals
One of the biggest problems with antibiotic resistance is that it doesn’t stay in one place. Bacteria adapt quickly to be resistant to antibiotics, so the more you use an antibiotic, the more likely it is for bacteria to be resistant to it. That’s why, when your cat gets sick with an infection caused by a bacteria that’s not susceptible to any of the drugs in your vet’s office, he or she may need stronger drugs that are used in human medicine.
What makes this issue even worse is that when bacteria become resistant to one type of drug, they also become resistant to other types. So, when you give your dog an antibiotic for an ear infection and his or her immune system becomes tolerant to it after a couple days, he or she may develop a secondary bacterial infection because their immune system can’t fight off other types of bacteria anymore.
This cycle can be difficult for veterinarians and pet owners alike because they’re limited on the number of antimicrobial agents they have available. And depending on what type of animal or person is infected with these drug-resistant bacteria, treatment options may vary. Antibiotics are our last line of defense against these infections so it’s important to take all precautions possible in order to reduce our risk for developing them ourselves.
The Implications of Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem for animals and humans alike. Bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics if they are overused, misused, or if the bacteria are naturally resistant. Because of this, when an animal becomes infected with a drug-resistant bacteria, they are often unable to be successfully treated with that particular antibiotic.
A variation of this scenario is the rise in infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is also resistant to treatment with certain antibiotics. These highly contagious bacteria make their way into the environment through people’s skin or after contact with surfaces in veterinary clinics.
How to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance in Your Dogs
The most important thing you can do to prevent antibiotic resistance in your pets is to make sure they aren’t over-medicated.
Often, the easiest and best way to avoid antibiotic resistance is by limiting how many antibiotics your pet receives. You want to be careful about how often you prescribe antibiotics. If you need them for an infection, it’s especially important not to wait until your pet is showing signs of sickness before giving them the proper medication. Ideally, if your pet does show signs of being sick, call the vet before it gets worse so that a prescription can be found more quickly.
If you have a pet with a chronic illness or any long-term condition, ask your veterinarian about appropriate courses of treatment without antibiotics whenever possible. Some diseases or conditions require a prescription for medication or dietary supplements that will help manage symptoms without using antibiotics as part of the protocol.
- Wipe down outside areas where your dog sleeps or eats with a diluted bleach solution (1 part water and 1 part bleach) daily – this will reduce infectious bacteria from building up around those areas and keep them clean
- Wash clothing and bedding on a high heat setting after use – this will kill infectious bacteria too
All Are At Risk for Antibiotic Resistance
It’s not just humans who are at risk of antibiotic resistance. Dog owners should be aware that their pets are also at risk of developing antibiotic resistance if they are not properly cared for. The spread of antibiotic resistance in animals is something that should be taken seriously by pet owners, as it could have a significant impact on the treatment of human illnesses.