Message Number: YG3089 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Steve Austin
Date: 2001-04-30 16:18:00 UTC
Subject: Re: antibiotic use?

Snipped from Dr. William's post:
Vets rely on definite indications for the use of antibiotics ( or at
least the good vets do.) I'm not wanting to be an elitist here, but
education and experience with using a range of antibiotics is
imperative to be able to use them not only safely, but effectively.
Antibiotics are not for use in any illness in animals or man, but
there are specific indications for each one. The indiscriminate use
of antibiotics results in generation of antibiotic-resistant strains
of bacteria, which in turn endangers us all. This is not a
cautionary tale for people working in ferret rescues, but also for
veterinarians, who, in pursuit of a quick fix and an easy buck in
many cases, are the most egregious abusers of all......

I could not agree with Dr. Williams more.

I work in the pediatric ER, I am constantly struggling with the decision
to give out an antibiotic prescription. I have parents upset if they
wait the 2 hours to be seen to be told it is viral, or to wait another
24hours before treatment. I have also felt that if the child ended up
with a more serious infection that it would be my fault for not treating-
but what am I treating? I find that if I take the time to thoroughly
examine the patient, speak to the parents, and order tests that are
helpful in making the diagnosis, I am doing the best for the patient. I
may be spending more time with the patient, and a quick prescription may
have been the easy way out. Plus the parents feel better that they can
give something, and the medicine makes them feel less anxious. The truth
is that docs way over prescribe antibiotics, and because of this there
are so many resistant strains. Penicillin resistant S.pneumoniae
approaches 50% or more in some communities- the highly resistant forms of
this bacteria are also resistant to Cephalosporins and others, it is a
deadly bacteria when it crosses into the brain to cause meningitis. Not
to mention Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus in hospitals. I have been
seeing more and more UTI's resistant to Amoxicillin, and Bactrim. The
list goes on and on. In human medicine there is a strong push towards
less use of antibiotics, and a reach out to patients and their parents to
not ask for the antibiotic when it is not needed.
I think vets would be prudent to learn from the mistakes of medical docs,
and keep the antibiotics for times when specific bacterial infections
have been identified. I also think that it helps if the owners know this
as well, since there are plenty of ways to acquire these antibiotics
without a vets prescription.


p.s. In pediatrics I would almost never treat with an antibiotic until
stool cultures, ova and parasites were done and showed the cause
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