Study Shows People Share Medications with Their Pets

Doggie MRI Borbala FerenczyMR Research Center via AP

A new trend shows that some people may be using their pets’ medications, according to a study conducted on antibiotic use.

The study, which surveyed 400 adults of different demographics, ran in the most recent edition of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, CNN reports.

Of the 400 adults in Houston surveyed, four percent said that they have used their pets’ antibiotics as a way to get antibiotics without a prescription, according to the study’s co-authors who are doctors in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Although the percentage of people using their pets’ medicine is not as high as antibiotic use from other sources, the survey didn’t even ask whether people used their pets’ antibiotics—people just volunteered that information.

Twenty percent got antibiotics without a prescription from well-meaning friends or family, 12 percent said they used antibiotics from the last time they were sick, and 24 percent said they bought them in another country, according to the study.

When asked if people planned to use antibiotics without a prescription in the future, 25.4 percent of people responded that they would.

The most shocking part of the survey was that 40 percent of people were able to buy antibiotics in American pharmacies without a prescription.

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

The American Veterinary Association’s guidelines suggest that vets avoid giving unlimited refills on prescriptions to crack down on the misuse of veterinary drugs, although antibiotics were not mentioned.

The American Medical Association warns that people who take antibiotics without a prescription have a greater likelihood of developing antibiotic resistance.


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