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Pulse antibiotic therapy: it's time to cut back
  1. Tim Nuttall, BSc, BVSc, CertVD, PhD, CBiol, MSB, MRCVS
  1. School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Neston, CH64 7TE, UK
  1. e-mail: timn{at}

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The use of antibiotics in small animal practice has become an important and controversial issue. The general public is aware that antibiotic resistance is of increasing concern in medical and veterinary healthcare and that antibiotics should only be used where necessary (Guardabassi and Fondati 2009). It is our goal as veterinarians to prevent misuse and promote responsible use of antibiotics to preserve their efficacy and minimise the development and spread of resistance.

Practical guidelines for responsible antimicrobial use in small animal practice have been developed, which all seek to minimise antimicrobial use and recognise that repeated courses of systemic antimicrobials are a risk factor for the development of antimicrobial resistance. Examples of guidelines that have been developed include those from BSAVA/SAMSoc, BVA, ISCAID and Pfizer Animal Health.

Many pyodermas, however, are recurrent (Noli 2003, May 2006). How are these best managed in an era when we seek to minimise antimicrobial use? The first step is to determine when the pyoderma recurs (Noli 2003). If the pyoderma relapses after a few days, then the antibiotic course was too short. A longer course, following bacterial culture and antibiotic sensitivity testing to check that the drug will still be effective, should be …

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