Why safe use of antibiotics is essential

Last week the who-is-who met in the veterinary world met in Marrakesh, Morocco, for a high-profile meeting. The meeting was convened by the World Organization for Animals (OIE), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization to discuss ways to ensure the prudent use of antibiotics.

Next week, from 12 to 18, the world will pay attention to the week of antibiotic resistance; during which governments, experts in the field of human and veterinary medicine should sensitize the public to resistance to antibiotics. But why would antibiotic resistance cause concern for farmers?

What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics were discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928. Like most scientific discoveries, Alexander Penicilline discovered the first antibiotic by accident. This discovery has redefined the treatment of bacterial diseases and to date, antibiotic has saved millions of human and animal lives and improved the welfare and productivity of farm animals.

Antibiotics are medicines that are used to treat bacterial diseases. Initially they were called magic bullets with regard to their potency against bacterial diseases. Antibiotics literary search and bacteria in biological systems "kill". Antibiotics come either as tablets to be swallowed, injectable liquids or topical ointments. For optimal potency, each antibiotic is supplied with the manufacturer's instructions on how to use it.

For this reason, antibiotics must be sold on prescription by a human physician or a veterinarian. Unfortunately this has not been the case and human and veterinary antibiotics have been wrongly misused by either dosing, over-dosing or use against diseases for which they are not intended. This then leads to resistance development.

Bacterial diseases are of great importance for the welfare and production of animals, but they are not the only ones that contain fungus, protozoa, rickettsia and viruses and these are not treated with antibiotics. Examples of bacterial diseases in cattle, sheep and goats are anthrax, botulism, brucellosis, leptospirosis, listeriosis, etc.

In poultry they include poultry cholera, pullorum, fowl typhus, salmonellosis, E. coli. This shows the central role of antibiotics in livestock farming.

Bacterial diseases have been managed for a long time by the use of antibiotic drugs. The sad news is that the diseases are already becoming stronger and may not be treatable in the future. Not only endanger livestock farming, but also the life of the farmer.

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is the failure of bacterial diseases to be treated with drugs that initially cleaned up such infections.

Bacteria use different mechanisms to resist antibiotics that were originally used in their treatment. The development of this resistance has been attributed to the misuse of antibiotics by humans. The intention is that if this abuse is not tamed in time, this can lead to most bacteria being resistant to antibiotics.

So what can farmers and the public do to combat antibiotic resistance?

Always consult your veterinarian

If your animal becomes ill, consult your veterinarian. Do not inject medication if you are not sure which disease the animal is suffering from. Remember that not all diseases are treated with the help of antibodies. Consulting your veterinarian ensures a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment that lowers the development of antibiotic resistance development.

Observe waiting times

Most farmers do not keep to the waiting times as prescribed by the pharmaceutical manufacturers. Waiting time the medicine can be broken down by the body and excreted or removed from the body. During this time it is recommended that milk, meat or eggs from such animals that are still within the waiting period may not be consumed by humans.

use foot baths

Proper biosecurity measures on the farm, such as keeping a foot bath, observing cleanliness and quarantine sick animals, is also important.

Be a cautious use tool against antibiotics

Let us all be in favor of responsible and careful use of antibiotics. Educate fellow farmers; sensitize fellow animal health professionals that antibiotic resistance is an expensive challenge and that everyone must work to combat it.

[The writer was the winner of Vet of the Year Award (VOYA) 2016 and works with the Kenya Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Council –KENTTEC, [email protected]]