Responsible antimicrobial use in critically ill adult horses

Dunkel, B. (2020) Responsible antimicrobial use in critically ill adult horses. Equine Veterinary Education. ISSN 0957-7734

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Due to increasing antimicrobial resistance, pressure on veterinarians is mounting to adhere to responsible use of antimicrobial drugs. Antimicrobials are frequently included in the treatment of systemically ill horses due to the strong likelihood of an infection and the innate difficulties in differentiating systemic inflammation secondary to noninfectious from infectious causes. In light of increasing antimicrobial drug resistance and the potential negative impact of antimicrobials on equine patients, every attempt should be made to identify noninfectious disease, choose first‐line antimicrobials and discontinue treatment as soon as possible. In most cases, a short duration of antimicrobial therapy ranging from a single dose (e.g. preoperatively) to 24–72 h might be sufficient with long‐term treatment being rarely required. This article aims to provide practical guidelines for antimicrobial drug usage in critically ill adult horses by describing ancillary diagnostic aids that can help establishing whether or not an infection is present, discussing commonly encountered pathogens and their typical antimicrobial drug sensitivity patterns, and providing some guidance how to safely shorten the duration of antimicrobial therapy.

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