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Leading veterinary charity, PDSA, has teamed up with pet owner awareness charity, The Bella Moss Foundation, to support European Antibiotic Awareness Day (18 November 2014) and to encourage pet owners and vets to pledge to become Antibiotic Guardians.

Antibiotics have been an essential medicine to fight infections in both animals and humans for many years, but they are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate.

Elaine Pendlebury, Senior Vet at PDSA, explained: “Bacteria can adapt and become resistant to antibiotics, meaning they no longer work. The more that antibiotics are used, the more the resistance rates increase, putting future treatment of things such as infections, broken bones and operations in jeopardy.”

PDSA and The Bella Moss Foundation are encouraging all vets, pet owners and anyone who comes into contact with animals to sign up to be an Antibiotic Guardian by visiting www.antibioticguardian.com. They will pledge to help keep antibiotics effective by using them responsibly and reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics.

Jill Moss, a TV actress and broadcast journalist, lost her dog Bella to MRSA in 2004 following a routine knee operation. Bella was the first dog publicly recorded to have died of the human form of MRSA, so Jill founded The Bella Moss Foundation to encourage responsible use of antibiotics among veterinary professionals and pet carers. As well as advising pet owners concerned about antibiotic resistant infections, The Bella Moss Foundation also helps vets and vet nurses in need of advice about hygiene and best practice in prescribing antibiotics. Thanks to its team of highly qualified clinical advisers, the charity has been able to field hundreds of calls from owners and professionals alike.

Jill, who now dedicates all of her time to the charity, commented: “Many antibiotics are prescribed and used for mild infections when they aren’t really needed, such as a tickly cough or a cold that a pet could fight off. We need to ensure they are used wisely so that these life-saving medicines continue to remain effective for ourselves and future generations.”

European Antibiotic Awareness Day is promoted in the UK by the Public Health Authority and the campaign aims to have 10,000 pledges from healthcare professionals, vets and members of the public by 30th November.

Vet and TV presenter, Zara Boland, is also supporting the campaign, saying: “Antibiotic resistance is an increasing threat to the health and welfare of both our pets and ourselves. As a practicing vet I’ve pledged to become an Antibiotic Guardian and I strongly urge all practitioners (both veterinary and human) to do the same. Together let’s smash the goal of reaching 10,000 pledges by the end of November and reduce the risk of resistance!”

The Bella Moss Foundation and PDSA have also created a special ‘myth-buster’ quiz for pet owners, which can be taken here: www.thebellamossfoundation.com/pet-carers/use-of-antibiotics

 

Advice for pet owners

PDSA vet Elaine, has put together some top tips for pet owners on how to be an Antibiotic Guardian and ensure their pets stay healthy and happy:

* Remember antibiotics don’t kill viruses so aren’t needed for all conditions – your vet can advise what treatment will be best for your pet.

* Keep your pet healthy – a suitable diet, plenty of exercise and preventative care such as vaccinations will mean your pet is more likely to fight off infections.

* Medicines – give your pet any prescribed medications in the correct dose. Don’t finish a course of medication early, and never share medication between pets or give them human medication

* Wash hands after petting – people’s hands are the most common way that germs are spread. Washing hands properly with soap and water is the best way of reducing the spread of infections.

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