Proper Use of Antibiotics for Uterine Infections (AAEP 2011)

Ensure a bacterial infection that will respond to antibiotics is actually present before beginning treatment.

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Treating a broodmare’s uterine infection properly can mean the difference between her conceiving or staying empty this season. Proper treatment also can determine whether or not you contribute to antibiotic resistance; development of "superbugs" is a genuine concern in not only the human medical but also the veterinary community. Accomplishing both can be complex, according to one veterinarian who described endometritis treatment approaches at the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention.

"The decision to use antibiotics for the treatment of a reproductive problem in mares is not always clear-cut or cookbook," said John Dascanio, VMD, Dipl. ACT, ABVP (Equine), associate professor of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. "One of the key factors in treating endometritis is to ensure that a bacterial infection that will respond to antibiotics is actually present." Dascanio discussed how and when to treat endometritis with systemic or local antibiotics to a veterinary audience at the convention, which was held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas.

In some chronic endometritis cases, the infection can be deep-seated in the uterine lining and some antibiotics will not penetrate deep enough into the wall of the uterus if the mare is only treated with an intrauterine infusion of antibiotics (i.e., "washing" the uterus).

"In some cases, intrauterine antibiotics are not sufficient and systemic antibiotics administered either intravenously or intramuscularly are needed," noted Dascanio

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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