Antibiotic resistance concern for pets as well as humans

By Brittny McGraw - Anchor

ROANOKE, Va. - Antibiotic resistance isn't just a concern for people, but also our pets. 

When Barbara Weir's dog Holly was suffering from an odd cough, all Barbara wanted was to help her feel better. 

"It's like your child," said Weir.  

But rather than rush to prescribe an antibiotic, Weir's vet gave her two choices, and let her decide.

"The vet had said to me, you can do the aggressive one by giving her the antibiotics immediately, or you can give it a couple of days," said Weir.  

Weir chose to wait and the cough went away on its own.

"When people take antibiotics they don't need, it can lead to the development of bacteria that actually resist those drugs and are harder to treat with the normal medications we would use," said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports health editor. "And the exact same thing can happen with animals too." 

The health team at Consumer Reports says no one should take an antibiotic they don't need -- that goes for people or pets.

"Antibiotics can have side effects in pets, these can include diarrhea, vomiting and even in some cases, seizures," said Roberts.  

Veterinarian Lester Sills says the decision should be on a case by case basis. 

"I think antibiotics are essential, amazing and one of the miracles of modern science," said Stills. "But like anything else, you don't want to abuse it. And you need to use discretion when you dispense it." 

Consumer Reports says the best approach may be preventative medicine -- to help keep your pet from getting sick in the first place.

Keep your pets up to date on their shots and be diligent with hand washing and washing your pets bedding.

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