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Drug-Resistant Bacteria Becoming A Problem In Pets

Beaver County, Conway, sick dog, Police Chief Anthony Blum

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

RickDayton Rick Dayton
Rick Dayton joined KDKA in September 2009 as a morning news anchor. ...
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CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s been said that too much medicine creates strains of drug-resistant bacteria.

However, it’s not just a problem for people. It’s a problem for pets, too.

“The associate director for the Centers for Disease Control has come out and done an interview and said ‘We’re pretty much past that problem of worrying about resistance. We are there.’ We have bugs that we have no treatments for,” Dr. Mike Hutchinson, of Animal General, said.

It’s not just doctors who are faced with the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“They keep multiplying, and they keep changing and mutating until eventually, they develop resistance and that’s the problem,” Dr. Hutchinson said.

Dr. Hutchinson said much of the problem comes from people who insist on medication as soon as they don’t feel well.

“Everybody wants an antibiotic when they are sick. They think it is that magic pill that is going to make them better, so they put pressure on their doctor — you know, ‘Can’t I get an antibiotic?’ And a lot of times they get dispensed and maybe it’s not necessary,” Dr. Hutchinson said.

It is not limited to humans either.

Dr. Hutchinson deals with it every day when people bring sick animals for treatment.

“I’ll have that same exact conversation with an owner and their pet. They don’t want to wait a couple days for that pet, because they look at it as if that pet is suffering. They are not thinking about the antibiotics or the antibiotic resistance. What if that problem is a virus and it’s not a bacteria? Antibiotics do nothing for the virus,” Dr. Hutchinson said.

So what do you do when the medicine that is supposed to cure bacteria problems no longer works?

Hutchinson said researchers are going back to the early 1900s and the days before penicillin. They are looking at phages, viruses that attack and kill bacteria in the body.

The problem is they were doing a lot of research on it back in that day and it was mostly in Russian. The western civilization didn’t pick it up because we had penicillin now and that was working and it was saving millions of people that before we weren’t able to treat.

At that point the research all but stopped. Now, they are starting the research again and it looks very promising.

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