Antimicrobial resistance is something we have be hearing about more and more often. This is the ability of a microbe to change over time and become resistant to medications (such as antibiotics and antifungals) so that they are no longer an effective treatment. Similar situations can occur with insects and insecticides. As a part of evolution, organisms adapt and adjust to conditions in their environment naturally over time, in order to survive.
Antibiotics can be life-saving in some situations, so it is important to have effective antibiotics when these situations arise. What can you as a pet owner do to reduce the likelihood of antibiotic resistance?
Although many antibiotics, insecticides, and herbicides can have miraculous effects when first introduced, it seems inevitable that over time they will lose their efficacy, as we are already starting to see especially with antibiotics. What does this mean for ourselves and our pets? Is it realistic to think that we will always have better, stronger drugs? Or is there another way to think about the problem? Rather than trying to conquer and destroy other organisms living in our shared environment, is it possible to improve the health of the individual, to strengthen their defenses and decrease their susceptibility to disease? Could this be a better long term strategy for our own health, our animals’ health and the planet’s health? Consider looking at your dog’s health from a different angle - that health isn’t always dependant on the destruction or total avoidance of other organisms in our environment but that the basis of health starts from within.
Dr. Susan Hore, DVM