The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a global health threat. AMR is when microbes, which are invisible to the naked eye, adapt to the drugs we use to fight them, making the drugs ineffective. The bad news is they are already developing faster than our ability to create new antimicrobials.
Staying ahead of AMR and keeping Canadians safe sounds like a job for scientists and health professionals. But we know that pet and animal owners can also play a major part in the fight against AMR.
AMR develops as microbes, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, evolve to resist the drugs we attack them with. Some microbes may have a trait that lets them survive a treatment and multiply. As more multiply with the ability to survive the treatment, the medication becomes less effective, or not effective at all. That’s why antibiotics, and other antimicrobials, should only be used as prescribed.
Animal owners can help fight AMR and slow its development in a few ways, including preventing illness to avoid needing to use antimicrobials. When antibiotics are needed, it’s important to know how to use them properly so that AMR is less likely to develop. Speak to your vet about preventing illness, and the proper use and timing of antimicrobial administration.
There’s a role for everyone in the fight against the threat of drug-resistant microbes.