Animal and Human Resistance to Antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is when humans and animals become increasingly resistant over time to antibiotics that would normally treat and resolve common infections.

This means that an animal can become resistant to antibiotics that would perfectly work for a bacterial infection.

Antibiotic resistance makes simple infections that should resolve easily more difficult to treat, thereby making the drugs useless and ineffective for your body system.

Antibiotics are routinely used to prevent, control and disease outbreaks.

All over the world, diseases such as gonorrhoea and tuberculosis are now resistant to antibiotics that used to bring an immediate cure for them.

Animals that are experiencing antibiotic resistance would have issues treating wounds from trauma, accidents, and surgeries especially in the case where infections occur on such wounds.

In animals, such as dogs, poultry farms, cattle, sheep and goats, antibiotics are routinely and indiscriminately used for various purposes. While some of the antibiotics used in animals are not currently used to treat human disease, many of them like tetracyclines, penicillins, and sulfonamides, are also used in the treatment of infections in humans.

Indiscriminate use of antibiotics in Animals and Humans

It is common knowledge that a lot of farmers and other individuals use antibiotics inappropriately for themselves and for their animals – whether they’re abusing the dosage being prescribed by the veterinary or medical doctors or that they’re self-medicating.

There’s also the case of people who neglect continuous use of the antibiotics once they start feeling well. This indiscriminate use invariably leads to the build-up of antibiotic resistance.

The indiscriminate use of antibiotics in animals particularly farm animals such as poultry, cattle, sheep and goats is that they are used when they are not necessary which leads to antibiotic resistance in the animals which can also be transferred to humans when eaten.

As a standard procedure, food animals should go through a ‘waiting period’ before being sold to the population as food. However, this is hardly the case in abattoirs and livestock producers here in Nigeria.

How do we reduce the effects of Antibiotics in our bodies and in our animals?

  1. Use antibiotics cautiously and only when necessary.
  2. Do not use antibiotics to treat viral infections. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections so they would not work for viral infections.
  3. When you are given antibiotics by your doctor or veterinary doctor (for your animals), ensure you take the full prescription.
  4. Never share antibiotics with others and don’t use leftover prescriptions.
  5. Ensure you maintain good health, apply biosecurity measures and good management of your herd or poultry.
  6. Make sure you have effective and strict programs in place for disease control and maintain good sanitation
  7. Ensure that vaccination of herd or poultry is up to date.
  8. Finally, always remember that each time you take an antibiotic when it is not necessary, the effectiveness of the antibiotic decreases

Don’t forget to check out our other post on preventing a food security crisis under covid-19 here.