Re: NANFA-- Antibiotics

Jay DeLong (
Tue, 19 Nov 2002 11:55:16 -0800

>I was reading some stuff last night and saw that human antibiotic usage is
>in the range of several hundred tons per year!!! That does not include
>antibiotics in animal feed. I do not believe that fish use approaches
>anything like this range.

Thanks, Geoff

>In my store, in a given day, remedies are our number one seller. We sell
>more remedies (both in volume and money generated) than fish food,
>feeders, etc. Its a lot of meds. Unfortunately, our remedy category also
>includes such things as Qucik Cure, echlorinator, etc. Not just
>antibiotics. But, most of the stuff on teh shelves is antibiotics. I
>can't tell you how often I sell meds. to a customer who has a fish that
>looks funny.

Thanks, Joshua.

>My one ally! Speaking from my experience in the pet industry (mostly FW,
>marine may be a different sotry) the volume is very low.

We're all allies here, Martin. I'm trying to put things in perspective and
figure out perceptions of the problems with pet shop drugs. Is it people
self medicating with them? I just cannot believe that many people do
this. Is it home fish treatment gone bad? This doesn't seem to be
anywhere near as great as the effects of prescribed drugs for humans. I
think the real problems here may be rampant prescribing, improper use ("I
felt better so I stopped taking them."), lack of communication between
patient and physician and now-- Internet drug availability.

Here's something quite timely. Just yesterday morning I took my dog to the
vet for his rabies vaccination. He has had a hot spot on his rump for a
week or more and I've been cleaning it and trying my best to distract him
when he starts digging at it. It's nearly healed now, gone from an open
wound to just a nearly healed scab. But the vet commented on it right off
and said she'd like to send me home with some antibiotics. I declined and
told her why, that they weren't necessary. She didn't argue and changed
the subject. It's a clinic, she's an employee, and they're all about
making money.

40,000 people die each year from drug-resistant bacteria yet I can order
Keflex from an Internet drug dealer. So, what's worse-- a person with a
fish tank and sick fish in their home, or people and their pets
intermingling after using "several hundred tons per year" of antibiotics?

One problem is identifying fish diseases (is it bacterial, fungal, what?)
and the folks at pet shops aren't necessarily quailfied or interested in
proper diagnosing. I think an appropriate and valuable step would be to
require that aquarium treatment products be labelled with warnings about
proper use and proper disposal of fish and used aquarium water.

It doesn't matter that Wright Huntley's bug wasn't truly a drug-resistant
one, his words of caution should be taken as basic standards of aquarium
drug use: "I urge you to campaign among your aquatic friends to get
educated on this problem, and to find ways to use antibiotics that are 100%
effective, or do not use them at all. Throw away out-of-date medications.
Treat only in fish food or other ways that assure adequate strength and
duration to kill *all* of the target pathogens. Do not use
gram-negative-specific antibiotics to "cure" gram-positive organisms and
vice versa. If you can't tell the difference, any use will likely cause
more harm than good."

Jay DeLong
Olympia, WA
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