Are they superbug risks that everyone has overlooked

The same applies to pets. However, both the scientific community and the general public have largely ignored this fact. We should be concerned about the agriculture sector, since it treats far more animals than pets and uses more antibiotics per weight.

Collared. Andrey Eremin

Because pets live so close to more people, they are more likely than humans to spread resistant bacteria. This is mainly via saliva or skin-to-skin contact. Pets can become reservoirs for resistant microbes, which then spread to their owners.

Owners’ obstacles

I’m a member of a team that has been investigating the issue in Scotland by conducting in-depth interviews with groups of pet owners. Pet owners had a good understanding of superbugs but not antimicrobial resistant. We found that when it came to using antibiotics, owners were willing to do anything to help their pets in the short term.

Owners often viewed antimicrobial resistance as an abstract problem that would only affect the future, similar to how they view climate change. Our interviewees, however, were willing to wait to take antibiotics until their infection cleared up. When it came to their dogs, they wanted antibiotics immediately, just like with children.

A large-scale campaign of public awareness for pet owners must, therefore, be relevant to the current situation. You could tell them that if they don’t use antibiotics responsibly now, their pets may not be able to get treatment later. Let’s not fool ourselves – it has been well documented that changing people’s behavior to preventive is a very difficult task in public health.

Auf wiedersehen pets? Pap Kutasi Szilvia

Contact between animal owners and their pets was another issue. We all know that many pet owners allow their animals to lick their faces, sleep on their beds, or eat from their plates or hands. Pets are considered by many to be a part of their family. These affectionate moments, however, are also one of the main reasons why we own pets.

In our study, the majority of owners didn’t realize that resistant bacteria can be transmitted from pet to owner or vice versa. There are no risks unless either the pet or the owner is colonized with resistant bacteria. There are currently no simple tests that can be used to determine whether a pet or owner is safe. In a section of our research that is yet to be published, we asked owners if they were willing to change their behavior when antimicrobial resistance became more important. Many said no. It won’t be easy to convince people to stop doing these things.

Vets were also asked why they believed antibiotics are being over-used on pets. Vets are under market pressure, unlike doctors who work in publicly-funded healthcare. Pet owners who are not satisfied can buy antibiotics elsewhere. Vets said that many pet owners wanted something tangible for the fees they paid and saw antibiotics as “magic cure-alls.”

‘Left A Bit’. DuxX

Pet owners, however, had a different view: they thought that vets were the ones who were pushing them to use antibiotics. They claimed that the vet was the expert, and they would tend to follow their advice.

What is going on? It was not clear who would be responsible for administering the antibiotics. There was a breakdown of communication between vets and owners. We concluded that both parties should be “trained” to be more sensitive to such interactions and to provide them with the knowledge and skills to make better decisions.

Vets can be trained, or external agencies enforce standards and guidelines. Will find it difficult to comply with this, as the majority of practices are privately owned. Vets do not have a governing body like doctors.

The next logical step for vets and pet owners alike will be to conduct a much larger survey. This would confirm our findings were reflected in the entire country.

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