Study: Some Texans Are Using Their Pets' Antibiotics


A new study has found some Texans are using their pets' antibiotics, possibly to save money on medical costs.

The Houston-based study, which was recently published in the Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy medical journal, stated: "Of 400 respondents, 20 (5 percent) reported non-prescription use of systemic antibiotics in the last 12 months, 102 (25.4 percent) reported intended use and 57 (14.2 percent) stored antibiotics at home."

Of those questioned, 4 percent said they used their pets' antibiotics, 20 percent got antibiotics from friends or family,12 percent saved the meds from a previous illness and 24 percent bought the medications from a foreign country, notes CNN.

The study found 40 percent said they were able to purchase antibiotics from an American pharmacy without a prescription.

"We thought that was some other country's problems, not ours," Dr. Larissa Grigoryan, a study co-author, said. "That was an additional surprise."

Dr. Barbara Trautner, a study co-author, was not as surprised, and cited questions by her own pharmacist when buying antibiotic prescriptions for her child's pet frogs.

"We metabolize things differently than animals do, and these drugs are formulated for animals," Trautner added.

Trautner said it can be dangerous for humans to take medications that are manufactured for animals, and vice versa.

While that is true, some pet medications are comparable to human medications, but are dosed at a lower strength.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has recommended that veterinarians not prescribe unlimited refills of pet prescription medications in general because of possible wrongful use.

Personal finances may be driving some Texans to use their animals' medications.

A June study by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation found that 46 percent of Texans who have a household income less than $16,395 are uninsured, noted CNBC.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has refused to allow the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which would cover more low-income and uninsured residents.

"The ACA as implemented in Texas offers little hope for Texans with the lowest incomes," Elena Marks, president of the Episcopal Health Foundation, stated.

A recently released study found that the number of pregnancy-related deaths in Texas went up between 2010 and 2014, which happened to be around the same time lawmakers cut funding for women's health programs.

Sources: CNN, CNBC, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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