It’s a funny headline, but perhaps a less funny experience for the 118 folks in 18 states who developed drug-resistant Campylobacteriosis gut infections after exposure to pet store puppies. Recently the CDC reported on this issue, which was investigated after they observed a regional trend in the unusual gut infection between 2016 and 2018, where a quarter of affected patients were pet store employees.
It appears the pet store animals were given antibiotics, largely prophylactically, as discovered when state health workers in four states examined the types and reasons that antibiotic drugs were administered to animals in the stores. Where records were available, about half of the animals studied had been given antibiotics even if they weren’t sick. This is a misuse of antibiotics that we battle in human health every day, precisely because it can lead to resistant bacteria causing infections we cannot treat.
Campylobacter jejuni usually resides in agriculture animals like cattle, pigs, sheep, etc., so it isn’t surprising that cute fuzzy little puppies would have it too. When it infects our guts, it causes inflammation leading to diarrhea, cramps, fever and pain. Sometimes people recover easily, but others require medical intervention. That intervention? Antibiotics.
We have to stop abuse of antibiotics, and not just in human healthcare.