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Antibiotic resistance continuing problem with dogs

Posted at 4:18 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 18:16:09-05

Antibiotic resistance is a concern for all doctors with issues that plague both pets and people.

It can become dangerous when the drugs made to help simply won't work.

That's what happened with a recent nationwide outbreak sickening 118.

More people in Ohio than anywhere else in the country - 32 total, according to the CDC.

Most of those infected had contact with a puppy in a pet store. Puppies that received antibiotics to prevent infection, not for treatment of an illness. 

"That does contribute to antibiotic resistance because the more we use antibiotics the more the bacteria become resistant," Dr. Scott Zielinski at Westpark Animal Hospital said. 

Zielinski said they do not recommend giving an antibiotic unless it's for a specific reason.

According to CDC reports, some of the antibiotics given to the puppies were the same drugs that wouldn't fight off infections in people. Puppies and people were both sick from the same thing, Campylobacter. 

"Campylobacter causes diarrhea. That's the main issue in pets and people," Zielinski said.

According to the CDC, Campylobacter causes about 1.3 million illnesses in the United States and is most commonly spread through contaminated food that contains the bacteria. 

Zielinski said it's rare, but they do see issues with antibiotic resistance in dogs at Westpark Animal Hospital.

"We haven't quite gotten to the point where it's so resistant that we don't have options," he said.

"Just recently it's come to a head where we are seeing more and more of it. It's definitely a concern," he said, "We think about it every day. We try as a community not to promote antibiotic resistance so every decision we make does involve thinking about resistant bacteria."

There a few things you can do to prevent getting sick. 

"Something to think about from your pets standpoint is hygiene. Washing your hands after handling pets and making sure your pet is taken care of if it's sick," Zielinski said.