18 Oct 2016
Public health officials are urging pet owners to take more care about the use of antibiotics, and to wash their hands regularly after handling cats and dogs, in a bid to tackle the rise of antibiotic resistance.
The superbugs can be spread between animals and humans, with some forms of bacteria found in more than one in three healthy dogs.
Health officials are concerned that the use of antibiotics among pets could be fuelling the spread of antibiotic resistance.
It follows a warning from the World Health Organisation that levels of resistance are reaching “dangerously high levels” globally.
Studies have suggested that owners are more likely to transmit infections to their pets, with more multiple drug-resistant strains of E.coli found in owners than in their dogs.
Health officials said pet owners needed to take care of their own hygiene, washing hands before and after dealing with pets to reduce risks of infections.
Jill Moss founded the Bella Moss Foundation nine years ago after her dog died from an MRSA infection.
She said: “While we don’t know for sure how many antibiotics are given to pets we do know more doctors are prescribing them for people, and that more super-resistant types of bacteria are starting to emerge around the world.
“These potentially fatal infections can travel from humans to pets and back again, and we could all be at risk unless we make a concerted effort to use these precious drugs responsibly – both in people and in the pets we love.”
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