Nosocomial infections have been reported in veterinary medicine and are likely to increase in prevalence with the increase in intensive care practices in many hospitals.
Nosocomial infections and antimicrobial resistance are topics that have been intensely studied in human medicine because of their significant impact on human health. In recent years, concerns have been raised that the use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, and agriculture may be contributing to the development of resistance in common bacterial species affecting human beings. Although there is inadequate proof at this time that the resistance is transmitted from animals to people, if antibiotics continue to be used indiscriminately in veterinary medicine, veterinarians may find themselves facing regulations restricting the use of some antibiotics. Nosocomial infections have been reported in veterinary medicine and are likely to increase in prevalence with the increase in intensive care practices in many hospitals.
Prolonged hospitalization and the use of invasive devices and procedures increase the risk of nosocomial disease. As in human medicine, organisms isolated in the nosocomial infections reported in veterinary patients have an increasingly broad spectrum of antimicrobial resistance. Despite these findings, the use of empiric and prophylactic antibiotic therapy is still widespread in veterinary medicine. Nosocomial infections and antimicrobial resistance may have a serious impact on the future of veterinary medicine, because the cost and ability to treat our patients may be affected by the loss of access to or effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs. Despite the millions of dollars spent on research to reduce the incidence of nosocomial infections in human patients, the strategies that have consistently proven successful are simple and inexpensive to implement.
The most important factor in preventing nosocomial infections is improving the hygiene practices of health care providers. Hand-washing or the use of disposable gloves can dramatically reduce the transmission of bacteria between patients. Aseptic technique should be used in the placement and management of all invasive devices. All staff members should be educated on the risks and symptoms associated with nosocomial infections so that cases can be detected early and treated appropriately. We in the veterinary profession have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of the human medical profession and can take steps to prevent the escalation of nosocomial infections and their impact on our profession (Johnson J.)