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DESPITE recent reports of antibiotic resistance in the UK being on the rise, antibiotics are still the number 1 choice of drugs for dogs presenting with acute diarrhoea in veterinary practice in the UK (German and others 2010). This is particularly concerning as studies that evaluate the efficacy of antibiotics in such cases are lacking.
On p 253 of this issue of Veterinary Record, an important study that tries to address part of this issue is summarised. Unterer and others (2015) have investigated the usefulness of tests to diagnose Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium difficile infections in dogs with acute haemorrhagic diarrhoea syndrome (AHDS), arguably one of the most common clinical presentations that makes veterinarians reach for antibiotics. The issue is, of course, complicated, because C perfringens has previously been associated with AHDS in dogs (Cave and others 2002) and tests to diagnose the disease are flawed due to several aspects of the biology of these bacilli.
Clostridia form a large percentage of the normal microbiome in the colon of dogs (Suchodolski and others 2012) and it is thought that only if …