Quick Response Key in Equine Antimicrobial Resistance Cases

Resistant bacteria do not necessarily have the ability to cause more severe disease as long as veterinarians identify them promptly and begin appropriate treatment.

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Veterinarians have been warning horse owners about the dangers of antibiotic resistance for years. Yet, as common as the phrase now is, Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, Dipl. ACVIM, a professor in the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Pathobiology, claims that many members of the equine community still don’t understand the concept and importance of bacterial resistance.

“Resistance simply means that a bacterium has either an inherent/natural or acquired ability to evade certain antimicrobial drugs,” said Weese, during his presentation at the 2017 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Nov. 17-21 in San Antonio, Texas.

“Resistance does not mean that there is any difference in the ability for a certain bacterium to cause disease,” he added, “or that a resistant bacterium is more likely to cause severe disease, as long as it is identified promptly and an appropriate treatment is started.”

Treating horses harboring bacteria resistant to certain antimicrobial drugs does not necessarily require a different approach than treating those infected with susceptible pathogens (disease-causing organisms). However, one of the most important factors, Weese said, is this prompt identification and swift initiation of proper and effective treatment, something that might simply mean administering a different antibiotic

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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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