Changing the narrative: Tools for reducing inappropriate use of antimicrobials for GI conditions in companion animals

September 27, 2022

While antibiotics can certainly be beneficial or even lifesaving for some pets with chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disease, for others these drugs are unnecessary and may even be harmful.

Recent data has revealed both the lack of evidence to support antimicrobial efficacy and the negative impact of short and long-term use of antimicrobial drugs on the microbiome, which plays an important role in health and immunity. In addition, antibiotic overuse may lead to the rapid development of resistant strains in the GI tract; and cross-resistance to other antimicrobial agents can also occur.

Recent findings indicate that other alternatives (such as synbiotics, fibre supplementation, and provision of dietary modification) are positively associated with the resolution of GI signs and can replace antimicrobial use in these patients. As well, tools for educating both clients and veterinarians about reducing antimicrobial use in GI disease in companion animals are widely available. These include specific guidance for veterinarians through consensus statements, phone apps such as the SAVI/CVMA Firstline tool, and tools for clinic staff to provide to clients.

This panel discussion includes updated Recommendations for the Management of Chronic Enteropathy (including inflammatory bowel disease) and Large Bowel Diarrhea (colitis). They will be presented by board-certified internal medicine specialists with vast clinical experience in gastroenterology and infectious diseases.

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