In 1928, bacteriologist Alexander Fleming made a chance discovery from an already discarded, contaminated Petri dish. The mould that had contaminated the experiment turned out to contain a powerful antibiotic, penicillin.


Almost instantly, medicine, both Human and Veterinary, were transformed and suddenly, huge numbers of previously untreatable diseases could be easily cured. The invention of antibiotics was probably the single most important step in advancing medicine in history.


Yet since that date, there has been an ongoing “arms race” between the scientists who develop new antibiotics and the bacteria themselves who develop mechanisms to resist the effects of the antibiotics and continue to thrive. This is known as “antibiotic resistance”


Antibiotics are lifesaving drugs which are required to prevent disease in animals and humans, but the risk that the organism causing the disease will develop resistance to them increases every time they are used. To make sure that antibiotics stay effective now and in the future, they must be strictly controlled and used only when really necessary.


Antibiotics only kill bacteria and they have no activity against viruses. We often need to carry out laboratory tests on sick animals to find out whether treatment with antibiotics is really necessary and, if so, which antibiotics will work best. This allows us to prescribe the right antibiotic for the right infection.


It is essential that if your pet is prescribed antibiotics, you administer the recommended dose for the full course even if your pet seems better after a few days. This helps to cure the infection and ensures that no bacteria remain which have had exposure to the antibiotic and may have had an opportunity to become resistant.


A healthy animal is better equipped to fight infections. Do your best to keep your pet healthy by feeding it food with a high nutritional value, provide a healthy lifestyle, having it vaccinated regularly and taking it to the vet for examination each year.