More-than-Human Geographies of Antibiotic Consumption
: Pets, Pet-Owners, and Societal Drugs

  • Alistair E Anderson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Antibiotic resistance is a significant public health challenge arising through a more-than-human geography enrolling multiple species, microbes, institutions, and environments. Antibiotic resistance entangles human, animal, and environmental health(s) because the same antibiotics are utilised in human and veterinary medicine, and resistance to these antibiotics can cross species boundaries through shared environments. Minimal social scientific research has examined the experiences or rationales of pet-owners in relation to antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, nor whether the experience of utilising veterinary care in addition to medical care has an influence on how pet-owners use antibiotics in the context of their own health.
This thesis deploys mixed-methods to investigate the experiences of pet-owners when navigating multiple healthcare settings in the context of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance and the extent to which pet-owners resemble petless members of the public in their knowledge and behaviour regarding antibiotics. Through the combination of quantitative and qualitative social research methods, this thesis argues that at the population level pet-owners and petless members of the public exhibit broadly similar levels of responsible behaviour regarding their own health. However, the experiences of accessing medical and veterinary care and following any subsequent treatment regimens are subject to inconsistent perceptions of health and illness across species borders and are productive of differing rationales for antibiotic-related behaviours in different species’ care contexts.
This significance of this thesis is that it highlights the complexity of antibiotic stewardship for pet-owners and the role that distinct perceptions of health and illness hold in pet-owners’ navigation of veterinary care and antibiotic use. Animal and health geographers, already cognisant of ontological challenges relating to ‘knowing’ animals and perceiving health, are challenged by this thesis to pursue a deeper integration of these challenges to respond to significant contemporary public health challenges that are interspecies in character and consequence.
Date of Award21 Jan 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorMaria Fannin (Supervisor), Levi J Wolf (Supervisor) & Richard J Harris (Supervisor)


  • Geography
  • More-than-human
  • Antibiotic
  • Resistance
  • Pets
  • Animals
  • Mixed-methods
  • Qualitative
  • Quantitatve

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