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All About Antibiotics for Pets

March 15, 2019

Human patients commonly use antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. Did you know that antibiotics are also very commonly prescribed to pets? They’re essential for helping pets with infections make full recoveries! Here’s everything you need to know about antibiotics for pets:

What Do Antibiotics Treat?

Antibiotics kill bacteria—not viruses—in or on the body. Antibiotics will never be prescribed to fight viral infections directly, although antibiotics could be used to treat a pet suffering from a virus if that pet has developed secondary bacterial infections.

How Do Antibiotics Work, Exactly?

There are multiple types of antibiotics, and they work in different ways. Some antibiotics weaken the cell wall of the bacteria until it bursts. Others stop the bacteria from multiplying, and still others interfere with bacteria cells’ capacity to repair themselves.

How Are Antibiotics Administered?

Antibiotics can take several forms. Some are administered orally in pill form to treat internal infections, while others are applied topically. These are usually in cream or ointment form, and are used to treat external infections on the outside of the body.

It’s essential to follow the label instructions properly when administering an antibiotic to your pet. Keep in mind that some antibiotics must be given on an empty stomach to prevent the medication from binding with ingredients in your pet’s food. Other antibiotics, though, must be given with meals to improve the rate of absorption. If you’re unsure whether or not your pet’s medicine should be given with food, call your veterinarian right away. Also, make sure to ask before you split or crush a pill—this could render medicine ineffective, and it could cause serious side effects in some cases.

Always finish the full regimen of antibiotics that has been prescribed to your pet, even if your companion seems to look or feel completely better before all of the pills are gone. Stopping medication before the infection is gone, or lapsing during treatment, can lead to dangerous bacterial resistance. This means that the bacteria harming your pet develops a resistance to the antibiotic, rendering the medication useless!

Is There Any Possibility of Side Effects?

It’s possible for some pets to have adverse reactions to antibiotics, such as vomiting or diarrhea. Let your vet know right away if your pet seems to be reacting poorly to their medication!

Would you like to know more about antibiotics for pets? Call your vet’s office today.


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