Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Superbugs, Equine Style

A recent event in my horsey life has me reflecting once again on society and our dependence on having a silver bullet or cure for everything.

If we are fat, we need a fat pill to be thin.  If we are dependent, then let's have another drug to reduce the dependence.

If we have a runny nose, let's go get antibiotics because obviously that will cure all ails.
Same in the horse world.

I see rampant overuse in equine antibiotics.  Who hasn't put their horse on SMZs?  Despite the fact that antibiotics have no effect on viral disease. 

Horse owners: why don't more people ask for a gram stain or why don't your veterinarians offer this?  I personally would love to know at least if we are dealing with a.) a bacterial agent at all or b.) something that's gram positive or gram negative.  Let's save the wide spectrum antibiotics for those cases where we are in a crisis. 

For those looking for a more succinct version of my complaint, please feel free to check out this link from  

I should confess though that I am a little biased.  I'm a microbiologist so I am constantly surrounded by opportunistic pathogens in the lab.  But still I wonder, why do people always reach for the antibiotics first and ask questions later?  I personally always worry about antibiotic related disease like colitis.

Is it convenience?  Fear of the diagnosis?  Worry about cost?  Readers, what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. with all the modern convinces and quick fixes we have in this world, we assume it should be the same for everything we encounter. including all medical needs. However, we all forget there have been "bodies and bugs" long before man created his interpretation of how the world should be.


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