Study: Some Texans Are Using Their Pets’ Antibiotics

Opposing Views – by Michael Allen

A new study has found that some Texans are using their pets’ antibiotics, possibly to save money on medical costs.

The Houston-based study, which was recently published in the Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy medical journal, stated: “Of 400 respondents, 20 (5%) reported non-prescription use of systemic antibiotics in the last 12 months, 102 (25.4%) reported intended use and 57 (14.2%) stored antibiotics at home.”

Four percent said they used their pets’ antibiotics, 20 percent got antibiotics from friends or family,12 percent saved the meds from a prior illness and 24 percent bought the medications from a foreign country, notes CNN.

Forty percent said they were able to purchase antibiotics from an American pharmacy without using a prescription.

“We thought that was some other country’s problems, not ours,” Dr. Larissa Grigoryan, a study co-author, said. “That was an additional surprise.”

Dr. Barbara Trautner, a study co-author, was not as surprised, and cited questions by her own pharmacist when buying antibiotic prescriptions for her child’s pet frogs.

“We metabolize things differently than animals do, and these drugs are formulated for animals,” Trautner added.

Trautner said it can be dangerous for humans to ingest medications that are manufactured for animals (and vice versa).

While that is true, some pet medications are comparable to human medications, but are dosed at a lower strength.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has recommended that veterinarians not prescribe unlimited refills of pet prescription medications in general because of possible wrongful use.

Personal finances may be driving some Texans to use their animal’s medications.

A June study by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation found that 46 percent of Texans, who have a household income less than $16,395, are uninsured, noted CNBC.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has refused to allow the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, which would cover more impoverished and uninsured residents.

“[Obamacare] as implemented in Texas offers little hope for Texans with the lowest incomes,” Elena Marks, president of the Episcopal Health Foundation, stated.

A recently-released study found that the number of pregnancy-related deaths in Texas went up between 2010 and 2014, which happened to be around the same time that lawmakers cut funding for women’s health programs.

Sources: CNN, CNBC, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy / Photo Credit:Jheemstra/Wikimedia

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