Antibiotic Resistance in Veterinary Medicine

Unnecessary use of antibiotics leads to health threats for humans and animals

11 June 2021

Written and edited by Nida Fatima, MD and Jakob Bower.

Resistance to antibiotics is one of the most common and life-threatening issues for animals and humans worldwide. Recently, this resistance has been considered a key feature of ‘modern’ microbes, resulting from either unsuccessful and/or prolonged exposure to antimicrobial treatments.

Antibiotic-resistant microbes originating in pets are responsible for both direct and indirect threats on human health, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, carbapenemase-producing enterobacteria, and extended spectrum beta-lactamase gram-negative bacteria 1.

More information regarding intrinsic antibiotic resistance can be found here.

More information on the relationship between antimicrobial use and antibiotic resistance in the food chain—including people. 

Antibiotic resistance is continuously emerging and worsening globally, and antibiotic resistance of animal origin is considered a significant contributor. Serious actions must be taken to eradicate this issue 2.

Certain restrictive measures have been adopted in the veterinary field which include banning antibiotics for growth-promoting purposes, developing immunization programs, and increasing the traceability of antibiotic prescriptions 2. However, there still needs to be a joint intervention between scientific and administrative sectors and a worldwide effort in the acquisition and enforcement of regulatory measures 2.  Appropriate legislative actions must be taken to guarantee fair behavior and ensure public health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further describes the issue of antibiotic resistance spread to humans. 


  1. Pomba C., Rantala M., Greko C., Baptiste K.E., Catry B., van Duijkeren E., Mateus A., Moreno M.A., Pyörälä S., Ružauskas M., et al. Public health risk of antimicrobial resistance transfer from companion animals. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 2017;72:957–968. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkw481
  2. Palma E, Tilocca B, Roncada P. Antimicrobial Resistance in Veterinary Medicine: An Overview. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(6):1914. Published 2020 Mar 11. doi:10.3390/ijms21061914
Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.