Is It Okay To Give Your Pet Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are drugs widely used to treat diseases caused by bacteria.
There are many types of antibiotics that can be used to control and fight different infections.
Next, we’ll explain whether it’s okay to give your pet antibiotics and the precautions that should be taken with this type of drug.
How do antibiotics work in the body?
Medicines known as antibiotics consist of chemotherapy drugs. That is, their therapeutic action is based on the chemical interactions they generate in the patient’s body.
As we mentioned, antibiotics are designed to treat bacterial pathologies. That is, its chemical action acts to control reproduction or eliminate bacteria that trigger an infectious process.
For this reason, these drugs are not effective in fighting diseases caused by other microorganisms such as viruses or fungi.
Selective antibiotics versus broad-spectrum antibiotics
The wide variety of antibiotics that exist are generally classified into two broad groups; depending on their action in the body: selective antibiotics and broad-spectrum antibiotics.
- Selective antibiotics: are those that only act against certain bacteria. Therefore, its action is selective and is generally effective in treating diseases caused by certain types of bacteria.
- Broad-spectrum antibiotics: These drugs work on a wide variety of bacteria. Its action includes a broad spectrum and can be used to treat pathologies that may be associated with more than one type of bacteria.
By looking at the packaging of an antibiotic, we can identify the main drug that acts on bacteria. However, the addition of other chemical compounds that increase the antibiotic action of the drug is also common.
A classic example is clavulanic acid. This substance often accompanies amoxicillin in many of the marketed antibiotics.
Although not an antibiotic, this chemical compound increases the action of amoxicillin, optimizing the treatment.
When to give your pet antibiotics?
Of course, antibiotics are usually given when your pet has some kind of infectious process caused by bacteria. But before administering them, the diagnosis of a disease of bacterial origin must be confirmed.
Often, the symptoms of a viral infection can be mistaken for a bacterial one. For this reason, veterinary care is essential before administering antibiotics to your pet.
Each animal is a unique being, with a unique organism; therefore, there is no single, effective treatment for all patients.
Only a trained professional can verify the cause of your pet’s symptoms and, after confirming a diagnosis, determine an appropriate treatment for your specific needs.
In addition, veterinarians also often administer antibiotics after surgical interventions. In this way, skin lesions or scars are prevented from becoming infected during your recovery.
Likewise, antibiotic treatment may be necessary in cases of tick, flea or mite infestations.
By eliminating these ectoparasites, you prevent small skin lesions from becoming infected during healing.
Why shouldn’t we self-medicate our dogs?
Unfortunately, some owners offer antibiotics to their pets without a veterinarian’s prior guidance.
However, self-medication is very dangerous and not recommended for both people and pets.
There are actually some antibiotics that can be used to treat humans and other animals. However, not all medications administered to humans can be ingested by pets and vice versa.
In addition, doses and frequency should always be determined by a veterinarian as they depend on the reason for administration and the organism of each animal.
For example, the animal’s weight and health status should always be considered to define an effective and safe treatment using antibiotics.
Inappropriate or exaggerated administration of antibiotics to your pet can lead to several unwanted side effects; from vomiting and diarrhea to intoxication.
These are some of the possible risks of self-medicating your best friend.
Tips for safe antibiotic treatment
- Only offer your pet antibiotics with the prior guidance of a veterinarian.
- Provide a comfortable, safe and positive environment for your pet to aid its recovery.
- Consult your veterinarian about using probiotics to avoid imbalance in your pet’s gut flora during treatment.
- Offer your pets proper preventative medications throughout their lives. Veterinary visits every six months are also required, in addition to keeping your vaccinations and worms up to date.