Antibiotics and Your Pet: What You Need to Know

Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern in human medicine. But did you know that antibiotic resistance is also a rising issue in animal medicine? While the subject is often discussed with food producing animals, this global health issue is also affecting how veterinarians are able to treat our furry companions.
Antibiotics are used to treat various bacterial infections. Prior to the introduction of penicillin, many of these bacterial infections could have proven fatal. While antibiotics are an important part of human and animal medicine, the bacteria once susceptible to antibiotics is now evolving to resist treatment, proving more challenging to treat. It is important to carefully use antibiotics reduce the development of resistance.
In order to ensure the longevity of effective antibiotic treatment for our furry loved ones, here are some tips to keep in mind if your pet is prescribed antibiotics.

Do Not Share Antibiotics with Your Pet

In an attempt to cut costs, sharing your antibiotic prescription with your pet may seem tempting if you happen to be taking the same antibiotic. Both people and pets use antibiotics like Amoxicillin, Penicillin, and Tetracycline. However, the required dose for treatment varies significantly between humans and pets. Healthcare professionals calculate antibiotic dosage based on weight, the type of infection, and medical history. The prescribed dosage for humans is likely to be too high for pets, posing serious health risks. Do not sharing antibiotics between pets particularly if they different in weight or size. Misuse of antibiotics in this way can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance.

Trying to Identify Underlying Health Problems Can Reduce the Use of Antibiotics

Similar to human doctors, veterinarians want to avoid overusing antibiotics with our pets, in order to reduce the risk of resistance forming. If your pet is frequently susceptible to infection, further diagnostics may be recommended to identify an underlying problem that is leading to perpetual infection. For example, if your pet develops persistent skin infections, they may have allergies. So controlling the underlying condition such as allergies could accordingly reduce the incidence of infection, and therefore avoid the need for excessive antibiotic use.

Do Not Stop Antibiotic Treatment Early

Often times you may notice that your pet’s infection has subsided during the course of antibiotic treatment- that’s great! But it is important to continue the treatment through to the end as directed by your veterinarian. This is because although the infection may appear to be gone, the infectious bacteria may still be unknowingly present, and can cause the symptoms to return. Failing to finish the course of antibiotics may lead to further trips to your veterinarian, additional costs for commencing treatment again and also increase antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics are not Cure-Alls

Veterinarians exclusively prescribe antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. Fungal infections require antifungal treatment, while viral infections necessitate antiviral medications. Your veterinarian must specially prescribe antibiotics, using their expertise to determine the best course of treatment.

Like all medications, antibiotics can cause side effects, which vary depending on the animal. They may lead to stomach upset and vomiting. If there’s no improvement or symptoms worsen after two to three days of antibiotic treatment, contact your veterinarian. Seek emergency veterinary care if your pet experiences adverse side effects such as difficulty breathing, seizures, severe weakness, or hives. These symptoms could indicate an allergic reaction to the antibiotic treatment, potentially life-threatening if not addressed immediately.

It’s important to inform your veterinarian about any other medications your pet is taking when prescribing antibiotics. Prescription medications, as well as over-the-counter or herbal medicines, can interact unfavorably with your pet’s antibiotics, causing negative side effects or reducing the effectiveness of the treatment.

Antibiotics are an important part of veterinary medicine, and it is crucial everyone is mindful with the use of antibiotics, in order to ensure they can be an effective course of treatment for our furry companions. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s antibiotics please call our vet in Newmarket.
Looking for a vet clinic in Newmarket Aurora area? Call us to book an appointment; 905 898 1010