Antibiotic Prescribing Habits in Spain


Antibiotic use in Spain mirrors that in other European countries and shows a high use of broad-spectrum medications but little sensitivity testing.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern in both human and veterinary medicine and has received attention from veterinary governing bodies worldwide. In addition to calls for judicious use of antibiotics, the close relationship between humans and animals leads to concerns of spread of resistant bacteria from animals to humans in close contact.

Multiple studies have been conducted to characterize veterinary use of antimicrobials in countries throughout the world. A recent study examined the use of antibiotics for dogs in Spain.

Study Design

Investigators randomly selected 30 veterinary practices, representing 29 zip codes in Madrid, for participation in the retrospective survey. The records of 20 canine patients that received antimicrobials between January and July 2017 were evaluated from each participating clinic. Data were collected and analyzed on each patient, condition treated, antibiotic(s) prescribed, and diagnostics performed, including culture, sensitivity testing and cytology.

For the purposes of the study, antibiotic use was classified as either therapeutic, when prescribed for the treatment of a medical condition, or prophylactic, when prescribed in conjunction with a surgical procedure.


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The records of 300 dogs were evaluated. Patient signalment included both males (n=174, 58%) and females (n=126, 42%) of 49 different breeds ranging in age from 3 months to 17 years (mean, 5.9 years).

A total of 374 antimicrobial prescriptions were written during the study period. Evaluation of the prescriptions revealed the following:

  • Twenty-six distinct antimicrobials were prescribed.
  • Beta-lactams were the most frequently prescribed (n=201, 53.7%), followed by fluoroquinolones (n=46, 12.3%) and aminoglycosides (n=41, 11%).
  • Of the beta-lactams, amoxicillin with clavulanic acid was the top product prescribed.
  • The oral route of administration was most common (n=209, 55.4%), with parenteral (n=100, 26.7%) and topical (n=65, 17.4%) routes also utilized.
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