More meat-eaters are choosing antibiotic-free chicken and beef, and patients are discouraged from using them for the common cold, but what about antibiotics for sick pets?
Using antibiotics too frequently leads to mutations of diseases that are resistant to those treatments, and that could be a threat to your pet’s health as well yours, suggests Patty Khuly, veterinarian and columnist for USA Today.
For example, if your pet gets a methicillin resistant staph infection, which can’t be cured with many traditional antibiotics, you may be at risk for getting this antibiotic-resistant infection as well. In fact, animal-to-human transmission of staph bacteria is not uncommon at all, according to CBS News.
Overall, antibiotic-resistant bacteria cost the U.S. health care system an estimated $4 billion to $5 billion per year, according to the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, notes Khuly of USA Today. And part of those costs could come from resistance developed by pets.
As much as 70% of antibiotics in America are used on healthy livestock raised in unsanitary and crowded industrial farms, Khuly adds.
Store-bought meat often comes from animals pumped with antibiotics whether they’re sick or not, under the assumption that preventing sickness promotes faster growth and bigger livestock, notes Khuly.