ABC’s of Pet Antibiotics

Almost every pet will have an infection at some point in their life; including fungal, viral, bacterial, or protozoal infections. Recovery depends on an accurate, timely diagnosis and also on choosing the correct antibiotic. Thankfully, we can trust our veterinarians to do these things for our pets; but there are a few jobs for pet parents. This article aims to go through the antibiotic basics to help parents of pets with infections.

ABC’s of Pet AntiBiotiCs:

  • Adhere to the veterinarian’s orders
  • Block all sources of infection
  • Check your pet often

Adhering to the veterinarian’s orders:

Your pet’s veterinarian will likely prescribe medications to help heal your pet’s infection. Sometimes these can be given as a shot by the veterinarian at the clinic, other times it is a medication given at home. For skin, eye, ear, and nose infections, the medication usually is a topical or local treatment. This means it is a medication applied to the infected area directly. For most other infections, the treatment will be an oral (by mouth) treatment.

The veterinarian will prescribe a dose with directions to give the treatment, and then a duration the medication should be given. It is very important to follow these directions carefully. Some antibiotics require a certain dose to kill the organisms in your pet’s body: It is important to measure the dose correctly and ensure your pet receives it all.  Other antibiotics need to be in the body for a certain amount of time to kill the organisms, so it also important to follow the frequency the veterinarian assigned closely. Most organisms can develop resistance to antibiotics, which is usually caused by some of them that are exposed to antibiotics surviving. This is why it is important to finish the entire course of antibiotics your pet is assigned, to prevent any from remaining inside your pet and becoming resistant.

Block all sources of infection:

The best way to prevent any future infections in your pet is to remove the source it came from. It depends on the type of infection your pet has, and your veterinarian will have lots of helpful tips to prevent another infection. If your pet has an infection on the outside (such as in the eyes, skin, nose, or ears), careful cleaning of your pet and their environment can be helpful. This usually means cleaning bedding, water bowls, food bowls, and other areas and items with which your pet comes into contact. For example, a skin fungus can be transferred to your pet’s bedding. It needs to be cleaned to remove the fungus and prevent it from reinfecting your pet. For infections within the body, it may not be as necessary. Contagious, or spreadable, infections should be handled by cleaning water bowls, food bowls, toys, etc.. Another example would be if your pet gets a contagious cough, cleaning their water and food bowls is important because the bacteria can be hiding in their bowls. Consult your pet’s veterinarian about specific ways to reduce the chances of reinfection in your pet.

Check your pet often:

After seeing the veterinarian, check your pet’s infection often. Infections on the outside of your pet can be readily seen and monitored. It may be helpful to document the progress by taking pictures, making a log of what it looks like, or just by watching it. For internal infections, watch your pet’s symptoms closely. Make a diary of the severity of their symptoms, and any new ones which may arise. If your pet’s symptoms of internal or external infections get worse despite treatment, you should contact your pet’s veterinarian. If you finish the antibiotics and your pet still has symptoms of infection, you should also contact your veterinarian. These signs may indicate your pet needs another round of antibiotics or possibly even another kind of antibiotic. It is also important to watch for any side effects of the antibiotics. Most of them can cause some minor diarrhea or stomach upset, but severe symptoms can be dangerous. Notify your veterinarian if you are concerned about possible side effects of the antibiotics. Carefully monitoring your pet can prevent complications from their infection or the antibiotics.

Adhering to your veterinarian’s recommendations, Blocking sources of infection, and Checking your pet often can be great ways to ensure your dog or cat heals properly and promptly while on pet antibiotics. Remember these ABC’s of AntiBiotiCs the next time your pet has an infection to help them heal!

What recommendations do you have about infections for other pet parents? Let us know by clicking the “leave a reply” link below.