20 Nov 2015

Farmers urged to work with vets over antibiotics

6:03 pm on 20 November 2015

Veterinarians are urging farmers to work closely with them to address antibiotic resistance to preserve the effectiveness of the medicines for animal health and wellness.

Veterinarian attending to a sick cow

A veterinarian attends to a sick cow. Photo: AFP

New Zealand Veterinary Association dairy cattle branch president Jenny Weston said, globally, very few issues were of greater importance to society than antibiotic resistance and the threat this posed to modern medicine, both veterinary and human.

There was growing concern worldwide about the use of antibiotics in food animal production systems and how this would impact the effectiveness of antibiotics in the future, Dr Weston said.

"It's really important that farmers follow the instructions from their vet on the prescription of animals that are getting treatment. If an animal is on a course of antibiotics, it's important they get the full course."

"Many bacteria and diseases are shared between humans and animals so the use of antibiotics in animals can affect how medicines work in humans and vice versa.

"Veterinarians and everyone involved in livestock farming are responsible for improving disease control programmes and putting the focus on preventative health care so that we reduce, replace and refine our use of antibiotics.

"We also need to advance innovative therapies to develop alternatives to antibiotics."