So how do veterinarians like Mitch Hiscocks of the Carroll Veterinary Clinic decide an antibiotic is necessary?

Hiscocks says treatment decisions are decided on a case-by-case basis. Management and care are the first steps in treating animals.

A sick animal might not need an antibiotic. Rather, a move to an isolated area or better access to clean, fresh water might help a sick animal recover, he said.

“Antibiotics are no more important than managing the immune system,” Hiscocks said. “That could be nutrition, or comfort, or vaccines.”

Besides management practices, Hiscocks assigns the animal or animals a grade depending on a few factors.

“I grade them as far as temperature, attitude and appetite. If those grades aren’t too bad, then I look at...