Antibiotic Resistance in Dogs

Antibiotic resistance in dogs can be a potentially harmful situation because the intended effect of the antibiotic becomes useless. Antibiotic resistance occurs when a bacterial infection in a dog is able to successfully fight of the antibiotic administered for its treatment. When this occurs, a different type of antibiotic must be located so that the original condition can be treated.

Cause of Antibiotic Resistance

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is the most common cause of antibiotic resistance. This type of staph infection has become increasingly dangerous because the penicillin family of antibiotics is not able to treat it. The MRSA bacteria is dangerous in that it has been able to mutate and become immune to penicillin products, which makes an infection of this nature that much more difficult to treat in dogs.

MRSA is only one of the known bacterium which has mutated to be immune to penicillin type antibiotics. It is not out of the realm for other bacteria to develop this defense and in doing so, creating the need for more powerful or more susceptible types of antibiotics.

Another significant cause of antibiotic resistance is the general overall health of a dog. The health of a dog is important because some types of antibiotics actually rely on a healthy immune system in order to be effective. When a dog's immune system has been compromised or his general state of health is not so good, it can make antibiotics of this nature ineffective at treating an infection.

Improper Use of Antibiotics

When antibiotics are not used properly, it can make a severe infection increasingly difficult to treat. It has become more common in the veterinary world for a dog to receive a prescription for a simple head cold or to ward off the possibility of a future infection. This behavior is harmful in that the over usage of an antibiotic only makes it that much less effective when it is truly needed.

Likewise, it's always best for a dog to finish his course of antibiotics rather than stopping them when symptoms have subsided. When antibiotics are stopped in mid-course and the bacterium has not been completely eliminated, it gives the bacteria an additional chance to build immunity to the antibiotic. This can be extremely harmful because not only will the infection not clear, but a stronger antibiotic may be needed to finish the job.

Avoiding Antibiotic Resistance

With the MRSA infection, there is nothing that a dog owner can do to avoid the antibiotic resistance associated with this infection. But there are some other things that a dog owner can do to help reduce the chances that his dog will become antibiotic resistant.

One of the best things to do is to keep a dog healthy by feeding nutritionally valuable food and keeping up with vaccinations and yearly exams. Doing this will help to keep a dog in an overall healthy state, and help to keep his immune system up to par.

Make sure that a dog takes all recommended doses of an antibiotic when it is given to him. Not only will this help to heal the current infection, but it will also help to keep the bacteria from discovering a new way of being resistant to the antibiotic.