With Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18-24 November 2023) set to begin, the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is asking horse owners not to hoard unused antibiotics.
The organisation has reminded owners that irresponsible antibiotic use can lead to resistance developing, making antibiotics less effective.
BEVA’s past president David Rendle said: “Giving random, left over or old antibiotics to your horse for a suspected infection is irresponsible and potentially dangerous.
“It could make things worse, as they might not be the right type of antibiotic for that specific infection and could easily contribute to the problem of resistance. People also forget that antibiotics are not without risk and their use can trigger serious – even fatal – intestinal disease.”
Instead of stockpiling old medicines, BEVA is advising horse owners to return any unused antibiotics to their veterinary practice.
BEVA president Roger Smith added: “It is crucial not to throw old medicines away in the rubbish or flush them down the loo, as they can eventually return to the environment, contaminating soil and watercourses and cause damage to wildlife.
“The problems we are seeing with antimicrobial resistance is relevant to all vets and all horse owners, and we must all act to reduce the development of resistance.”
BEVA provides a ‘Protect Me Toolkit' for members, which contains posters and fact sheets about responsible antimicrobial use to share with clients.
Image © Shutterstock