Metronidazole for Dogs

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Metronidazole is an antibiotic that is regularly used to treat bacterial infections in both dogs and cats. It is not FDA approved for use on animals, but is widely considered safe by vets. Unlike many other antibiotics, it also has anti-inflammatory properties when used to treat certain bowel conditions.

What is Metronidazole?

metronidazole1Metronidazole is used by veterinarians to treat a variety of conditions. It is often prescribed to treat inflammation in the large intestine, but can also treat parasitic and bacterial infections. Metronidazole is particularly effective at treating tooth infections.

This medication differs from other antibiotics as it can kill anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria can survive in parts of the body that don’t have any oxygen. It can also treat infections inside bones, which is why it’s often used to kill dental bacteria.

One of the advantages is that it can be taken with most other antibiotics, including penicillin.

This makes it useful if a dog is infected with multiple types of bacteria. It can also treat bacterial infections in the central nervous system – which many other drugs aren’t capable of doing. The wide range of potential applications makes it  an important drug for vets.

Metronidazole should not be given to dogs that are pregnant or lactating. It can be especially damaging to unborn puppies during the first trimester. The drug may also not be safe for young puppies or dogs with kidney disease.

Drug Interactions

There are certain drugs that may not be safe to take with Metronidazole. For this reason, you should always tell your vet about any medication or supplements your dog is taking. In particular,it may not be suitable for dogs taking warfarin, phenytoin or cimetidine, amongst others.

What is the Typical Dosage of Metronidazole?

Since it is used to treat a number of conditions, there is no standard dose. The amount prescribed depends
on the size of the dog and the condition being treated.

The average dosage usually varies between 3mg-23mg per pound. It may even need to be taken up to four times per day.

If you miss a dose, there is no need to panic. Simply give your dog the dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed. You should never give your dog a double dose .

How to Get Your Dog to Take Metronidazole

metronidazole2It  is known to have a bitter taste. If your dog is fussy about what he eats, he may refuse to take Metronidazole after trying it for the first time.

The good news is that it should be taken with food as this aids absorption. If your dog refuses to eat the tablet when mixed with kibble, you can try coating the tablet in either a treat or soft food.

Peanut butter can work well. Sometimes the dog won’t realize there is a tablet – or will be more interested in the treat than the medication.

Some dogs refuse to eat tablets even when they are wrapped in food or treats. This is common  because of its bitterness. In this situation, gently holding the dog’s mouth open and placing the pillon his tongue is often the only solution. Make sure you don’t allow the dog to open his mouth until the tablet has been swallowed.

Should You Talk to Your Vet About Metronidazole?

It  is a versatile drug that has a wide range of potential applications. If your dog is suffering from a bacterial infection or inflamed intestines, your vet may recommend a course.

You should talk to your vet  if you’re concerned about the side effects, such as potential neurological toxicity, or if you want to know whether the drug could be an effective treatment for your dog’s condition.

Side Effects of Metronidazole

metronidazole3It  can cause a number of side effects. While the side effects are rare, it’s important to be aware of potential problems.

Side effects are more common if the dog is required to take the medication for long periods.

If your dog shows any of the symptoms listed below, you should stop giving the medication and contact your vet immediately:

Neurological symptoms. Some dogs suffer from neurological symptoms when taking Metronidazole.

These can include a loss of balance, strange eye movements and head tilting. If these symptoms occur, treatment should be discontinued.

It can take up to two weeks for symptoms of neurological toxicity to disappear after a dog stops taking Metronidazole.

Diarrhea. Many antibiotics can potentially cause diarrhea.. In some cases bloody or watery stool may be produced.

Nausea or vomiting. can cause stomach upsets and vomiting.

Appetite change. can cause a loss of appetite which should be carefully monitored.

Other potential side effects include liver problems, dark urine and drowsiness. Some dogs are also allergic. This can cause hives, difficulty breathing and swollen lips. If your dog suffers from an allergic reaction, you should discontinue use immediately and contact your vet.

Symptoms of overdose are similar to the side effects listed above. An overdose can cause dizziness, vomiting and even seizures. If you think your dog may have had an overdose, seek emergency veterinary care.

Common Questions

metronidazole4How long does Metronidazole take to have an effect?

How long it takes to have effect depends on the condition. More severe infections often require a longer course of treatment.

Where should I store?

Itshould be stored in a cool, dry place at room temperature. Do not store it in a fridge or in direct sunlight.

Can I use anti-diarrhea medication?

Diarrhea is a relatively common side effect of Metronidazole. You should contact your vet immediately – do not try to treat diarrhea using other medication.

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