Horse owners are being urged not to overuse antibiotics.
And the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is to advise vets how to target antibiotic use and reduce the chances of creating antibiotic-resistant bugs.
It is thought that unnecessary use of antibiotics contributes to the formation of resistant strains of bugs, including tuberculosis, MRSA, C difficile and E coli.
BEVA president Ben Mayes said: “Most horse owners have heard of resistance to wormers, but antibiotic resistance is less well publicised.
“Although there is no hard evidence of the link between superbug infection and animal antibiotic use, vets and horse owners have a role to play in reducing the amount of antibiotics used.
“Some yards are significantly overusing antibiotics and this seems to be driven by the professionals running them, in an attempt to ensure there is no illness,” added Mr Mayes.
He also said that it is becoming common for bacteria swabbed from horses – for example, from a respiratory infection or persistent mud fever – to be resistant to five out of the six most commonly used antibiotics.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (19 January 2012)