Appropriate Use of Antibiotics


Incorrect use of antibiotics may encourage bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics. Often bacteria will not be triggered to become resistant to an antibiotic until they have been exposed to it.


If a person or animal is prescribed antibiotics and doesn’t take a high enough dose, or doesn’t take the full course, the bacteria may not get enough to treat them but they may become resistant to that antibiotic, making it more difficult to treat them in the future.

If people or animals take antibiotics when they don’t actually need them, for example in viral infections, it can cause resistance to develop in the “good” or commensal bacteria in the body. This may not sound like a problem, but these bacteria can pass on their resistance to other more harmful bacteria.

Your vet or doctor may therefore only prescribe antibiotics if they actually know there is a bacterial infection present. If there isn’t, antibiotics will not work anyway. Culture and sensitivity testing can be very useful in this situation to establish if a bacterial infection is actually present.


If your vet or doctor feels that the condition does need antibiotic treatment, they will choose the best antibiotic for the particular type of bacteria to enable it to be treated more effectively with less chance of becoming resistant.


If antibiotics are prescribed, it is important that the correct dose is taken for the correct amount of time, again to make sure that treatment is effective and to reduce the development of antibiotic resistance.


This is all part of what is called “appropriate use of antibiotics”.



Disclaimer:  This website has been designed to offer information surrounding the use of antibiotics and infection control for pet owners.  It does not replace advice from your veterinary surgeon.  If you believe your pet is unwell or you have any questions relating to their treatment, please always contact your veterinary surgeon for advice.