Veterinary charity PDSA and The Bella Moss Foundation have teamed up to support European Antibiotic Awareness Day (November 18).
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, they say.
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.
Elaine Pendlebury, senior vet at PDSA, said: “Bacteria can adapt and become resistant to antibiotics, meaning they no longer work.
“The more antibiotics are used, the more the resistance rates increase, putting future treatment of things such as infections, broken bones and operations in jeopardy.”
Jill Moss, a television 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.
Miss Moss, who now dedicates all her time to the charity, said: “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 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 health care professionals, vets and the public by November 30.
Vet and television presenter Zara Boland is also supporting the campaign. She said: “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 strongly urge all practitioners (both veterinary and human) to do the same.”
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