use of bacitracin as a growth promoter in animals produces no risk to human health (2022)

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Volume 44 Issue 6

December 1999

Article Contents

  • Introduction

  • Acquired resistance to bacitracin

  • Transmission of bacitracin-resistant Enterococcus faecium to man

  • Risk of bacitracin resistance for humans

  • Conclusions

  • References

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Journal Article

Ian Phillips

Ian Phillips

30 Fentiman Road, London SW8 1LF, UK

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Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Volume 44, Issue 6, December 1999, Pages 725–728, https://doi.org/10.1093/jac/44.6.725

Published:

01 December 1999

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    Ian Phillips, The use of bacitracin as a growth promoter in animals produces no risk to human health, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Volume 44, Issue 6, December 1999, Pages 725–728, https://doi.org/10.1093/jac/44.6.725

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Introduction

Zinc bacitracin is a mixture of high molecular weight polypeptides (bacitracin A, B and Cand several minor components), first described in 1945 as a product of a Bacillus sp.(now recognized as Bacillus licheniformis), contaminating wounds. It has activityagainst some Gram-positive organisms, among which Staphylococcus aureus issomewhat less susceptible and Streptococcus pyogenes is highly susceptible. It isnoteworthy that the high susceptibility of S. pyogenes, established by Maxted in 1953,still obtains and continues to be used as a diagnostic test for Lancefield Group A streptococci.1

Bacitracin acts bactericidally by binding to isoprenyl pyrophosphate, the lipid carrier thattransfers N-acetylmuramyl-N-acetylglucosamyl-amino acid cell wall buildingblocks across the cytoplasmic membrane, a mechanism unlike that of any other commerciallyavailable antibiotic. Acquired resistance is known, for example in S. aureus, but isuncommon. Other organisms, such as enterococci, seem always to have varied in theirsusceptibility. There is no cross-resistance with other antibiotics.

Upon introduction into clinical use in man, bacitracin was found to be nephrotoxic, andpreparations for systemic use were soon withdrawn. However, it continued to be used topically,and is still used for the treatment of infected dermatoses and other skin infections, for infectedwounds and the prevention of infection in dirty wounds, although to a diminished extent nowother more effective agents have taken its place. The products containing bacitracin are ointments(including ophthalmic preparations) and various antibiotic sprays, in which it is mixed with suchantibiotics as polymyxin and neomycin. The antibiotic sprays have rarely been favoured bymicrobiologists since they have been associated with both bacitracin and neomycin resistance,even though only the latter is of great clinical importance.

The current lack of importance of bacitracin in human medicine is demonstrated by the factthat very little space is given to it in specialized (let alone general) textbooks. The seventhEdition of Antibiotic and Chemotherapy by O'Grady et al.,1 the major British textbook on antibiotics, gives it only half a page orso among its 1000 pages, while Lorian's compendious textbook Antibiotics inLaboratory Medicine2 mentions it virtually only inpassing, with MIC information only on Neisseria meningitidis—one line in about150 pages of tabulated susceptibility data.

In contrast to its low level of use in humans, bacitracin has had an important role as a growthpromoter in animal husbandry. Here, in addition to being effective in its primary role, it appearsto have the additional advantage of suppressing necrotizing enteritis owing to Clostridiumperfringens.

Acquired resistance to bacitracin

The determination of the in-vitro activity of bacitracin has been bedevilled by a lack ofstandardized reference methodology, by a lack of agreement on interpretive cri-teria and by thelack of any great interest in the antibiotic, particularly in human medicine. If these problems aretaken into account, it appears that the prevalence of bacitracin resistance has not changed overtime, regardless of the use of the drug in human and animal medicine. C. perfringens and S. pyogenes remain highly susceptible, while S. aureus is occasionallyresistant, and enterococci more often so.3,4

Transmission of bacitracin-resistant Enterococcus faecium to man

Clearly, bacitracin-resistant enterococci colonize the faeces of animals, including poultry,pigs and cattle, and, equally clearly, resistant enterococci can contaminate animal carcassesdestined for human consumption. According to Danish data,4 the prevalence of bacitracin-resistant enterococci is lower in beef and pork productsthan in live cattle and pigs, being highest in live chickens and in chicken carcasses from retailfood outlets. Abattoir handling might well increase and spread initial contamination, and somecontamination persists during processing and distribution, though at what level is not clear.

Bacitracin-resistant enterococci are thus highly likely to reach human food. What happensnext is pure surmise in the absence of valid experimental evidence. Experiments such as those ofBerchieri,5 who ingested cultures of vancomycin-resistantenterococci from animal sources, tell us little because of deficiencies in design, as well as theunknown extrapolation factor linking ingestion of cultures and ingestion of naturallycontaminated food. Contaminating enterococci might fail to pass the acid barrier of the stomach,or might colonize the gut transiently or semi-permanently. There is increasing evidence thatenterococci, like S. aureus, are often species specific and might not readily colonizeother hosts.6 Furthermore, if the resistant enterococci wereto survive they would still need to avoid host immune mechanisms before opportunistic infectioncould take place. Breaches in defences are only likely when the gut is damaged, for example,intentionally during surgery or, unintentionally, as in severely immunocompromised patients.Resistant enterococci might also be expected to gain access to the bladder and thus to causesimple or complicated urinary tract infection. If bacitracin-resistant organisms were to causeinfection, the fact is scarcely likely to be noticed, let alone to lead to difficulties of antibiotictherapy, since the antibiotic is not used in such circumstances.

Risk assessment

As far as I am aware, there has been no formal assessment to indicate the probability of thehazard of bacitracin-resistant enterococcal infection in man resulting from animal use of theantibiotic, being translated into actual risk. However, informal assessment suggests that the riskis so low as to be unmeasurable, and that it would be of trivial consequence even if it were tooccur.

Risk management

There is a growing and clamorous belief that all that is needed to manage therisks—real or not—arising from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in animals as aconsequence of the use of antibiotics for growth promotion, is to terminate the use of suchagents. This may be so, although resistance, once it has arisen, seems loath to disappear, at leastin the short term. Furthermore, discontinuance of any individual growth promoter may lead to theincreased use of others, as was experienced in Denmark when avoparcin was discontinued andthe use of macrolide growth promoters in animals increased, at least temporarily.4 Even less desirably, there might be a compensating increase in the usein animals of therapeutic agents such as aminopenicillins (with or without β-lactamaseinhibitors), fluoroquinolones and macrolides, for the treatment or prevention of infection (not tobe confused with growth promotion). This is particularly likely in the case of C. perfringens infection incidentally suppressed by the use of bacitracin as a growth promoter. The firsttwo of these antibiotic groups are likely to add to the resistance burden already accumulating insalmonellae, and the latter two to increasing macrolide and fluoroquinolone resistance incampylobacters.

There is a danger that concentration on banning antibiotic feed additives in general mightdivert attention from other measures that might be more effective and have less unwantedconsequences. For example, food irradiation—unfortunately equallycontentious—would be expected to remove all microbial contamination, includingenterococci. Less contentious would be an insistence on careful handling of potentiallycontaminated foods to prevent cross-contamination. If those who cook for us were to act afterhandling uncooked chicken as though they had handled faeces (in fact, the case!), anotherpowerful remedy for this and other more important contaminants would be in place. Propercooking would be another measure expected to be effective. Finally, those at greatest perceivedrisk could abstain from certain foods, as is the case with those with liver disease and certaincheeses and patés potentially contaminated with listeria. There is a great need forsociologically based research on how people might be persuaded to apply such measures.

There is also a real danger that over-concentration on animal sources of resistant organismsmight divert attention from the consequences of antibiotic use in humans. Most agree that this isthe source of most of our current problems. Sadly, and contrary to popular belief,microorganisms do not differentiate between prudent and non-prudent use of antibiotics, andthere is little scientific evidence of the effect of prudence. There is an overwhelming case for thepromotion of scientific research on the effects of prudent use and on alternative approaches to thesolution of our antibiotic-resistance problems.

Risk of bacitracin resistance for humans

None of the clinical uses of topical bacitracin in humans, outlined above, is critical, sincealternative and improved compounds are available. However, it has been suggested that theremay be a new niche for bacitracin in the eradication of carriage of resistant enterococci from thefaecal flora of humans. This is worth consideration in some detail, because if such an applicationwere to be shown to be effective, there might be a case for reservation of bacitracin forhuman use. There is, I believe, only one fully published report of a trial of this application.O'Donovan et al.7 first gave oralvancomycin to 19 assessable patients with gut carriage of vancomycin-resistant E. faecium, and the eight of 11 who failed to respond were given oral bacitracin in a dose of 25,000 IU(said to equal 500 mg) four times daily for 10 days. All were initially cleared, but two relapsedafter 8 and 20 days, respectively. The median MIC of bacitracin was 10 IU/mL: this was said toindicate ‘susceptible’, but if this equates to 200 mg/L, it indicates resistance (aswould the more usual conversion of 1 IU = 14.2µg). The overall conclusion wasthat if patients fail to respond to vancomycin then bacitracin is a suitable alternative. This paperis open to a number of criticisms. It relates only to E. faecium; it gives no detailedin-vitro results; it probably interprets the results erroneously; it relates to a small group ofpatients studied in an uncontrolled way; and it considers a failure rate of 25%“promising”.

A brief report from Chia et al.8 on eightpatients colonized with vancomycin-resistant but bacitracin-susceptible (MIC< 16 mg/L) E.faecium, found that six patients became negative after treatment with oral bacitracin25,000 IU twice daily for 10 days, one later relapsing, and two failed to respond. In the face of afailure rate of 35% they concluded that “this may be an effective way to eliminatevancomycin-resistant E. faecium from the intestine”. Three further abstractscomplete the current literature on the subject. Weinstein et al.9 treated 15 colonized patients in a dialysis unit with bacitracin 25,000 IU four timesdaily plus doxycycline 100 mg daily for 10 days, and compared them with 21 untreated patients.Although all 15 patients were initially cleared, all either relapsed completely or continued to haveintermittently positive cultures, thus differing little from untreated patients. The authorsconcluded that “antibiotics did not play a major role in changing the natural history ofcolonization of this population”. Montecalvo et al.10 reported on quantitative E. faecium stool cultures before, during and afterbacitracin therapy (25,000 IU twice daily for 10 days). Pre-treatment levels of 106,7,8 cfu/gfaeces fell to undetectable levels in four patients (one of whom was lost to further follow-up, tworemained negative at 7 days and 5 weeks, and one relapsed at 14 days). Six patients remainedpositive (two with no change, two with a 1 log10 increase and two with a 2 log10 decrease). They conclude that “oral bacitracin is minimally effective in reducingvancomyin-resistant enterococcal stool carriage”. Finally, Hachem and Raad11 treated 45 patients with faecal carriage of vancomycin-resistantenterococci with bacitracin (25,000 IU three times daily) plus gentamicin (80 mg three timesdaily) for 14 days. At follow-up after 2 months, 23/28 (82.2%) evaluable patients remainedpositive. They concluded that oral bacitracin and gentamicin was “not well tolerated andhad little effect in reducing VRE colonization”.

Overall we must conclude, on the basis of these studies (most of them not really adequate oradequately reported), that oral bacitracin is more likely to be ineffective for clearingvancomycin-resistant enterococci from the faeces, and may on occasion be harmful. Thereremains confusion in relation to the effect of bacitracin resistance. Any effect on this aspect ofhuman medicine from resistance selected in animals seems likely to be minimal.

Conclusions

Although there is evidence for acquired resistance to bacitracin in enterococci isolated fromanimals and staphylococci, though not in C. perfringens or S. pyogenes, thereis no evidence that the prevalence of such resistance has increased over time or in relation to theuse of the antibiotic in man or in animals. The hazard of transmission of bacitracin-resistantorganisms via the food chain remains a theoretical hazard rather than a quantified risk. Ifmeasures for control were thought to be needed, improved food handling and proper cookingwould be expected to be effective. However, since the use of the agent in humans is eithertopical, for which many alternatives exist, or, in the case of gut carriage, experimental and ofdoubtful efficacy, the application of any control measures, including the banning of bacitracin forgrowth promotion will have no value. Indeed, it might even have adverse consequences forhuman health if it led to the use of alternative antibiotics, such as aminopenicillins, macrolidesand fluoroquinolones, in animals, either for growth promotion or for therapy. There are noreasons, serious or trivial, to consider that the use of zinc bacitracin for growth promotion posesany current or foreseeable risk to human health. The conditions required for the withdrawal ofbacitracin in the relevant European Union Regulation,12 amending an earlier Council Directive,13 are quite simplynot met.

If purity of practice is required, in accordance with the Swann Report,14 no great harm would ensue if bacitracin were to be reserved for use as agrowth promoter in animals and its use in human medicine abandoned.

References

1.

O'Grady, F. G., Lambert, H. P., Finch, R. G. & Greenwood, D.,Eds (1997). Antibiotic and Chemotherapy: Anti-infective Agents and their Use inTherapy. 7th edn. Churchill Livingstone, London.

2.

Lorian, V., Ed. (1996). Antibiotics in Laboratory Medicine.4th edn. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.

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3.

Rogers, R. (1999). Surveillance study of bacitracin resistance in E.faecium, E. faecalis and C. perfringens. Report to Alpharma AnimalHealth Division, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium.

4.

Bager, F., Emborg, H.-D., Hovgaard, K., Boel, J., Jørgensen, T. R.,Sørensen, T. L. et al. (1999). DANMAP 98. Consumption ofAntimicrobial Agents and Occurrence of Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria from FoodAnimals, Food and Humans in Denmark, pp. 35–6. DanishZoonosis Centre, Copenhagen.

5.

Berchieri, A. (

1999

). Intestinal colonization of a human subject byvancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium.

Clinical Microbiology andInfection

5

,

97

–100.

6.

Kirk, M., Beighton, D., Chen, H. Y., Hill, R.& Casewell, M. W. (1997).Phenotypic differentiation of human and poultry vancomycin-resistant Enterococcusfaecium. In Abstracts of the Thirty-Seventh Interscience Conference on AntimicrobialAgents and Chemotherapy, Toronto, Canada, 1997. Abstract C-135. AmericanSociety for Microbiology, Washington, DC.

7.

O'Donovan, C. A., Fan-Havard, P., Tecson-Tumang, F. T., Smith, S. M.&Eng, R. H. (

1994

). Enteric eradication of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcusfaecium with oral bacitracin.

Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease

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105

–9.

8.

Chia, J. K., Nakata, M., Park, S. S., Lewis, R. P. & McKee, B. (

1995

).Use of bacitracin therapy for infection due to vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium.

Clinical Infectious Diseases

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1520

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9.

Weinstein, M. R., Brunton, J., Campbell, J., McGeer, A., Dedier, H. & Conly, J.(1996). Oral bacitracin and doxycycline for the eradication of stool colonization byvancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. In Abstracts of the Thirty-SixthInterscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, New Orleans, LA, 1996. Abstract J10, p. 219. American Society for Microbiology, Washington, DC.

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10.

Montecalvo, M. A., Raffalli, J., Rodney, K., Petrullo, C., Jarvis, W. R. &Wormser,G. P. (1997). Effect of oral bacitracin on the number of vancomycin-resistantenterococci in stool. In Abstracts of the Thirty-Seventh Interscience Conference onAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Toronto, Canada, 1997. Abstract J-80, p.303. American Society for Microbiology, Washington, DC.

11.

Hachem, R. & Raad, I. (1998). Are bacitracin and gentamicin useful incombination for the eradication of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) fecal carriage? In Abstracts of the Thirty-Eighth Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents andChemotherapy, San Diego, CA, 1998. Abstract E-62, p. 186. American Society forMicrobiology, Washington, DC.

12.

Council Regulation (EC) No. 2821/98 of 17 December 1998 amending, as regardswithdrawal of the authorisation of certain antibiotics, Directive 70/524/EEC concerning additivesin feeding stuffs. (

1998

).

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13.

Council Directive of 23 November 1970 concerning additives in feeding stuffs(70/524/EEC) (

1970

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1

–8.

14.

Swann, M. M. (1969). Report: Joint Committee on Use ofAntibiotics in Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine. HMSO, London.

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

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FAQs

Does antibiotic use on livestock affect human health? ›

Using antibiotics in animals may raise the risk of transmitting drug-resistant bacteria to humans either by direct infection or by transferring “resistance genes from agriculture into human pathogens,” researchers caution .

What are the advantages of using antibiotics in livestock? ›

Antibiotics given to farm animals keep them healthy, which makes healthy food. Responsible use of antibiotics in animals leads to an overall decrease in bacteria. Antibiotics help make food safe by keeping animals healthy and reducing bacteria entering the food supply.

Why does adding low doses of antibiotics into animal feed still raise concerns among microbiologists? ›

Extensive use of low-level antibiotics in feeds has brought about concern for potential harmful effects due to development of resistant strains of organisms in host animals that might compromise animal as well as human health. Drug resistance in bacteria was observed soon after the introduction of antibiotics.

Why does bacitracin have zinc? ›

The antibiotic bacitracin binds metal ions such as zinc, copper and iron, and is often prepared for clinical and veterinary use as a zinc complex to enhance stability. Here, we show that bacitracin and its zinc complex are able to reduce copper and iron salts with the formation of hydrogen peroxide.

What are the disadvantages of using antibiotics in livestock? ›

Antibiotic use can promote creation of superbugs which can contaminate meat and poultry and cause hard-to-cure disease in people. Superbugs can also exit the farm via farm workers, wind, runoff, and wildlife.

Should we decrease the use of antibiotics in humans and livestock animals? ›

Over-use and misuse of antibiotics in animals and humans is contributing to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance.

Should antibiotics be used as growth promoters in food animals? ›

To reduce the risk of selecting resistant bacteria, the use of antibiotics must be restricted. The most attractive area for reducing the use of antibiotics is to ban their use as growth promoters in food animals.

Why do farmers inject animals with antibiotics? ›

Farmers use antibiotics to treat, prevent, and control animal diseases and increase the productivity of animals and operations. However, there is concern that routine antibiotic use in livestock will contribute to antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, with repercussions for human and animal health.

Are the antibiotics given to humans and animals the same why short answer? ›

The antibiotics used in human medicine belong to the same general classes as those used in animals, and in many cases even if they are not exactly the same compounds their mode of action is the same.

Do you think that farmers should be allowed to put low doses of antibiotics in animal feed? ›

If we put low doses of antibiotics in feed for animals such as cattle and sheep, it helps to produce high-quality, low-cost food. Antibiotics help to keep animals disease-free. They also help animals to grow. Animals get fatter quicker because they do not waste energy trying to overcome illness.

Why is antibiotic free meat better? ›

“If you take those (recommended) precautions, the (risk of) resistance of antibiotics from a meat source is eliminated,” Plummer says. Livestock farmers understand that it's better to prevent farm animals from getting sick so they don't need to use antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, Plummer says.

What is affected when antibiotic is added in feed is given to animals? ›

The addition of antibiotics to the environment (the host organism) then selects for the resistant bacteria by killing off all of the non-resistant bacteria. This allows for the resistant cells to grow and divide, creating a large population of resistant bacteria.

Is bacitracin toxic? ›

Poisonous Ingredient

Bacitracin and zinc can be poisonous if they are swallowed or get in the eyes.

What are the side effects of bacitracin? ›

Common side effects of bacitracin include:
  • Nephrotoxic reactions (kidney toxicity) including albuminuria, cylindruria, and azotemia.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Itching.
  • Blood dyscrasias.
  • Sweating.
  • Injection site reactions (pain, burning, swelling)
  • Skin rashes.

Can you use too much bacitracin? ›

Eating bacitracin in large amounts may cause stomach pain and vomiting. In rare cases, bacitracin can cause an allergic reaction, often redness and itching of the skin. If the reaction is severe, there may be difficulty swallowing or breathing.

What complications can occur from antibiotic resistance both in humans and in livestock? ›

Antibiotic resistance results in a decreased ability to treat infections and illnesses in people, animals and plants. This can lead to the following problems: increased human illness, suffering and death, increased cost and length of treatments, and.

What are the negative effects that antibiotics can cause? ›

Common side effects of antibiotics can include rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, or yeast infections. More serious side effects include Clostridioides difficile infection (also called C. difficile or C. diff), which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of antibiotics? ›

When used appropriately, they quickly and effectively eliminate infections, causing us to feel better in a matter of days. However, when used to treat other health conditions, antibiotics are not only ineffective but can be harmful to our overall health.

How does antibiotics in food affect humans? ›

Antibiotic residues in food products have been associated with many health concerns. According to some research, these residues may cause several serious side effects in humans, such as allergies, and may negatively affect the health of the liver, kidneys, reproductive system, and immune system ( 6 , 7 , 8 ).

What's the difference between human and animal antibiotics? ›

The bottom line is that sometimes pet antibiotics are the same as human antibiotics. However, that doesn't mean they work the same way., or that they can be taken the same way in different species. It's best for humans to stick with human antibiotics prescribed by their doctor, who knows their health history.

Why animals should not be used for food? ›

Violated rights. If you accept that animals have rights, raising and killing animals for food is morally wrong. An animal raised for food is being used by others rather than being respected for itself. In philosopher's terms it is being treated as a means to human ends and not as an end in itself.

What are growth promoters in animals? ›

Abstract:Growth promoters are substances that are added to feeds as supplement or injection to improve feed utilization and the growth of farm animals. Cattle producers use growth promoters to increase growth rates and improve overall efficiency and product quality.

Are antibiotics still used as growth promoters? ›

Even though the use of antibiotics for food-producing animals may contribute to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, antibiotics are still used as growth promoters.

Should farm animals be treated with antibiotics? ›

Antibiotics used to treat diseases in humans can no longer be used in livestock to improve production—they are strictly used for the prevention, control and treatment of disease.

Can humans take animal penicillin? ›

Absolutely. Dogs, cats, horses, and sheep regularly take the same medicines as wounded bipedals. Many, and perhaps most, antibiotics are approved for use in humans and animals.

Is animal penicillin the same as human penicillin? ›

The penicillin used for fish and that sort of thing are actually the exact same pills [as antibiotics for humans],” Shecktor says.

Is antibiotics banned in animal feed? ›

The use of antibiotics for growth promotion purposes was banned in the European Union from 2006, and the use of sub-therapeutic doses of medically important antibiotics in animal feed and water to promote growth and improve feed efficiency became illegal in the United States on 1 January 2017, through regulatory change ...

Can you give a dog amoxicillin for humans? ›

Amoxicillin 500mg dosage used in humans can be fatal in pets. In dogs and cats, the typical dose of amoxicillin ranges from 5 to 12 mg per pound (10 to 25 mg / kg), two or three times a day.

Can I give my dog human antibiotics? ›

Can pets take human antibiotics? Although antibiotics will work to fight bacteria, whether it's used on a human or animal, it's important to not give antibiotics prescribed to people, says Dr. Phillips. Some antibiotics work better in some species over others and dosages may be different.

Is dog amoxicillin the same as human amoxicillin? ›

Human Amoxicillin Not the Same as Pet Amoxicillin

Mahaney, veterinary-specific medicines are the best option. The dangers of giving your dog human-grade amoxicillin, he says, include the potential to expose your dog to components of the drug that are “inappropriate” or “potentially toxic.”

Do antibiotics in chicken affect humans? ›

It's not the antibiotics that are harmful; it's the resistant bacteria created by their use in poultry. People who ingest these bacteria can develop infections that are resistant — that is, they won't respond — to the antibiotics doctors commonly use to treat them.

What complications can occur from antibiotic resistance both in humans and in livestock? ›

Antibiotic resistance results in a decreased ability to treat infections and illnesses in people, animals and plants. This can lead to the following problems: increased human illness, suffering and death, increased cost and length of treatments, and.

Are livestock hormones affecting human health? ›

The hormone residues in meat results into adverse effect on human health such as disrupt in human hormone balance, causing developmental problems, interfering with the reproductive system and can even lead to the development of breast, prostate or colon cancer (Galbraith, 2002; Ganmaa and Sato, 2005).

What is the connection between factory farming and humans becoming immune to antibiotics? ›

The routine, excessive use of antibiotic drugs by factory farms has triggered a cycle that results in the continual need for more potent antibiotics to fight dangerous infections in both humans and animals. The continuation of the cycle is resulting in the evolution of increasingly more antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

How does antibiotic use in food animals affect people? ›

How does antibiotic use in food animals affect people? Food animals can carry bacteria, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, that can make people ill. When animals are given antibiotics, resistant bacteria in their intestines can continue to survive and grow.

Do growth hormones in chicken affect humans? ›

Growth hormones found in meat could have a substantial effect on prepubescent children. If a child isn't yet producing growth hormones themselves, consumption of these growth hormones through either meat or dairy products could enter the child into puberty around seven months earlier, a study has found.

How do antibiotics cause ill health? ›

Taking antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses doesn't work — and it can create bacteria that are harder to kill. Taking antibiotics too often or for the wrong reasons can change bacteria so much that antibiotics don't work against them. This is called bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance.

What are the main consequences of antibiotic resistance in animal health? ›

Animals kept as companions or for sports often receive advanced care, and antibiotic resistance can lead to negative social and economic consequences for the owners. Further, spread of hospital-acquired infections can have an economic impact on the affected premises.

How does antimicrobial resistance affect humans? ›

Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality.

Why is antibiotic resistance a problem in healthcare we should all be worried about? ›

If the bacteria develops resistance to all antibiotics, it means that we could be back to where we were a century ago, being at the mercy of pathogens and not surviving even routine infections. The impact on public health would be devastating. How does antibiotic resistance happen? Bacteria are constantly evolving.

Do growth hormones in cattle affect humans? ›

Bovine growth hormone levels are not significantly higher in milk from rBGH-treated cows. On top of this, BGH is not active in humans, so even if it were absorbed from drinking milk, it wouldn't be expected to cause health effects.

Does the use of hormones in agriculture does not affect human health? ›

HGPs, when used according to good agricultural practice pose no additional health risk to consumers. Overall, the balance of international opinion is that there is no increase in the risk of adverse health risks associated with consumption of meat from animals treated with HGPs according to good agricultural practice.

Do plant hormones affect humans? ›

Researchers have hypothesized a link between dietary intake of plant hormones and various human illnesses, including diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, certain types of cancer and depression.

Do you think that farmers should be allowed to put low doses of antibiotics in animal feed? ›

If we put low doses of antibiotics in feed for animals such as cattle and sheep, it helps to produce high-quality, low-cost food. Antibiotics help to keep animals disease-free. They also help animals to grow. Animals get fatter quicker because they do not waste energy trying to overcome illness.

Why should antibiotics not be used in farming? ›

Not only does the administration of antibiotics in food-producing animals facilitate antibiotic resistance, but it may also result in the presence of antibiotic residues (including the parent compounds or its metabolites, or both) in animal-derived products (muscles, kidney, liver, fat, milk, and egg) available for ...

Why do factory farmers give animals routine antibiotics? ›

Livestock producers routinely give antibiotics to healthy animals in food production to prevent disease outbreaks in highly crowded conditions. Routine antibiotics also serve as growth promoters, bringing livestock to market faster and on less feed.

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