Farmers prescribing antibiotics to livestock have been urged to complete the full course of treatment.
Although a recent article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said there was little evidence suggesting failure to complete the course could have a negative effect on antibiotic resistance, industry chiefs urged the industry to ‘follow best practice’.
The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) warned farmers it would not be practical to make subjective judgement on whether symptoms have improved and treatment should stop, as confusion ‘could leave the door open for resistant bacteria to proliferate’.
It came as 10 senior scientists warned taking antibiotics for too long may fuel the rise of infection resistant superbugs.
Mark Fielder, professor of Medical Microbiology with Kingston University London and member of the Responsible Use of Medicine in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance, said: “While it is right to debate and question current practice in science in medicine, it is also important to ensure the continuation of best practice unless new evidence suggests otherwise.
“It is imperative for farmers to follow the instructions given by their prescribing vets in relation to antibiotics.
“The full course of antibiotics must be used following culture and sensitivity testing to ensure that the drug has had the opportunity to act against the invading organism and achieve the best outcome.”