Follow the advice of your vet when it comes to antibiotics, NOAH urges

NOAH urges animal keepers to continue to follow the advice of their vet when it comes to antibiotics prescribed for animals. This comes as an article is published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on 26 July relating to human medicine suggesting there is little evidence that failing to complete a prescribed antibiotic course contributes to antibiotic resistance.

Like human medicines, all veterinary medicines have to go through a strict regulatory process in order to be allowed on the market and for antibiotics to be available to be prescribed by vets. This includes assessment, by independent experts, of when it can be said with confidence that an antibiotic prescribed for an animal will have worked and killed the bacteria responsible for an infection – the approved dosage and length of course, agreed between the Marketing Authorisation holder and these experts, is based on this need.

As proper use of antibiotics is so important, it is vital that messaging is clear. NOAH’s advice is always to follow the instructions of the prescribing vet – as to whether antibiotics are needed at all, or if they are prescribed, to complete the prescribed course (for example NOAH fully supports the Bella Moss Foundation’s #BeattheBugs campaign which gives this clear message). Outside of a hospital situation where there is daily monitoring, it is not practical for a farmer or a pet owner to make a subjective judgement on whether the symptoms have improved and treatment should stop, and any confusion over this could potentially leave the door open for resistant bacteria to proliferate.

Antimicrobial resistance is a true One Health issue: NOAH supports mirroring the advice given by Public Health England for people: that animal keepers should continue to follow the advice of their vet.

Notes for Editors

  1. For further information please contact Alison Glennon or Dawn Howard at NOAH 020 8367 3131 or email

  2. NOAH represents the UK animal medicines industry. Its aim is to promote the benefits of safe, effective, quality medicines for the health and welfare of all animals.

  3. ‘The antibiotic course has had its day’ by Martin Llewelyn and colleagues was published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) on 26 July. BMJ 2017;358:j3418

  4. The Bella Moss video #BeattheBugs is available on NOAH’s You Tube channel