The Swedish Veterinary Association has released an English version of their 2009 "Guidelines for the clinical use of antibiotics in the treatment of dogs and cats". It’s a very comprehensive document that goes through various medical conditions and discusses antibiotic use recommendations. As concerns about antibiotic use and misuse increase, more organizations are putting the significant effort that is required into developing such guidelines, and they can be a tremendous asset. While there are still significant limitations in the available research needed to produce evidence-based guidelines, a combination of careful review of existing information and expert opinion can provide good guidance for treatment of infections in companion animals.

There are always a few disclaimers that need to be given when presenting antibiotic use guidelines:

  • They are guidelines, not standards. They provide a general overview of the issues and how to manage most patients, but some patients don’t read the book and need to be treated differently.
  • Disease and drug resistance patterns vary between regions. These patterns need to be considered, particularly when considering guidelines produced in another area or country.
  • Things change over time. As guidelines age, some parts of them may become less relevant.
  • There are differences in antibiotic access and licensing between regions.

Regardless, sound guidelines like these are needed and will hopefully help improve both patient care and control of the scourge of antibiotic resistance.