Antibiotic Use in Pets

Veterinarians should carefully decide if antibiotics are warranted for your pet.

One of the hottest topics in both human and veterinary medicine is the overuse of antibiotics. While antibiotics can certainly be life-saving, the overuse of antibiotics may lead to the development of resistant bacteria that can result in severe disease. It is important for every medical doctor to look at the patient closely in deciding whether or not antibiotic use is indicated.

Fevers, for example, indicate inflammation in the body, and not necessarily infection. With eye, skin, eye or ear inflammation it is often better to perform certain tests before placing a pet on antibiotics. Evaluation of eye and ear discharges under the microscope can help sort out whether an infection is present, and whether antibiotics are indicated. Cultures of the urine and/or airway secretions also may be helpful in guiding whether antibiotics should be used. If there are symptoms of severe vomiting or diarrhea with blood, then the judicious use of antibiotics should also be considered.

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