Prudent as opposed to excessive use of antibiotics is the safest way to limit Anti-microbial Resistance (AMR), according to Aled Rhys Davies, the Managing Director of Pruex Ltd.
Currently, in the UK, Doctors, Dentists and Veterinarians can prescribe antibiotics for treatment of bacterial infections. Vets being involved with prescribing antibiotics for food producing animals as well as pets.
However, this is not the case in other countries. In some African countries for example, the latest antibiotics can be purchased from pharmacies without prescription. If the purchaser has no need for the said antibiotic, or doesn't complete the course correctly, then there is a real threat of the bacteria in their bodies becoming resistant to the antibiotic used. That resistant bacteria can spread to other people rendering the antibiotic ineffective for future use.
It is often difficult to know if a patient, animal or human, has a bacterial or a viral infection. Treating a virus with an antibiotic is futile as it has no effect. However, it is also dangerous as bacteria within the patients body might develop a resistance to the antibiotic given.
Vets have to be extra vigilant when it comes to food producing animals. The antibiotics used have a withdrawal period. The food produced by the animals can't enter the food chain before the completion of the withdrawal period.
Compliance with this rule is strictly governed. It prevents food products with traces of antibiotics reaching the food chain. However, this strategy alone is not the end of the story. Vets also have to be sure that there is a need for the antibiotic treatment in the first place in order to fully limit the risk of AMR.
If antibiotics are prescribed and administered to animals that don't have a bacterial infection the antibiotic can combat, then the risk of generating AMR increases. Only by identifying the bacteria causing an infection can prudent use of antibiotics be achieved as a means of treating a disease and limiting the risk of AMR.
Pruex works with veterinarians and farmers to quickly identify the bacteria causing infections in food producing animals. By generating this evidence, only the animals that need treating with antibiotics are actually treated. There is no longer a need to second guess if treatment is necessary. By limiting the risk of infection on farm and by reducing the infection pressure on animals, consumers can feel reassured that the food they purchase has been produced with optimum animal welfare, optimum production efficiencies and in a way that minimises the threat of AMR.