About antibiotics

Discovery

The First antibiotic, Penicillin, was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming. It took another two decades before it was first used in human medicine.

Use of antimicrobials

Antibiotics are being used in the treatment of infectious diseases in humans and animals.

There are several ways in which they are being used:

  • Curative: the use of an antibiotic on an animal that shows signs of a bacterial infection.
  • Metaphylactic: the treatment of group members of an animal that shows signs of a bacterial infection where the group members are at risk of becoming diseased as well.
  • Prophylactic: preventive administration of antibiotics to prevent animals becoming infected without clinical signs of infection, the structural returning treatment of a group of animals.

It has been described by law (Belgian Regulation on Veterinary Practice, chapter 3) that reaching a diagnosis, setting a therapy and prescribing medicine is reserved to veterinarians. He/she has received the appropriate education and has the knowledge to do these things in the most optimal way.

What do antibiotics do

Antibiotics are substances (natural or synthetic) that slow down the growth of bacteria or kill the bacteria. Different antibiotics work through several mechanisms of action or through interference with bacterial metabolism, which is explained in the figure below:

Antibiotic classes

Penicillin

(Benzylpenicillin, Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Fenoxymethylpenicillin, Cloxacillin, Oxacillin, Nafcillin)

Cefalosporins

(Ceftiofur, Cefquinom, Cefovecin, Cefalexin)

Amino(glyco)sids

(Dihydrostreptomycin, Neomycin, Kanamycin, Gentamycin, Apramycin)

(Flor)fenicols

(Florfenicol, Chloramfenicol)

Tetracyclins

(Chloortetracyclins, Oxytetracyclin, Tetracyclin, Doxycyclin)

Macrolids

(Erythromycin, Spiramycin, Tylosin, Tilmicosin, Gamithromycin, Tulathromycin, Acetylisovaleryltylosin)

Lincosamins

(Lincomycin, Clindamycin, Pirlimycin)

Pleuromutilins

(Tiamulin, Valnemulin)

Polymyxins

(Polymyxin B and Polymyxin E (Colistin))

Sulfamids and Trimethoprim (Diaminopyrimidine)

(Trimethoprim, Baquiloprim, Sulfadiazin, Sulfamethoxazol, Sulfamethoxazol, Sulfadoxin, Sulfadimidin, Sulfadimethoxin)

Fluorquinolons

(Flumequin, Enrofloxacin, Danofloxacin, Marbofloxacin, Difloxacin, Orbifloxacin, Ibafloxacin)

Associations