The Use and Misuse of Antibiotics

Antibiotics have the abillity to help your dog but may introduce bacterial resistance or allergies.

By | Posted: Fri Jul 23 00:00:00 PDT 2004

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"Another concern regarding indiscriminate use of antibiotics in small animals is the resistance problem," says Papich. "When animals are exposed to antibiotics, there is a good chance that the endogenous population of bacteria will mutate or acquire resistance factors that may change them from being susceptible to being resistant. When these bacteria later on are the cause of a urinary tract infection, wound infection, or other opportunistic infection, there is a good chance that they will be resistant to standard drugs."

Some antibiotics, such as the tetracyclines, should not be given with dairy products that contain a lot of calcium because the calcium binds with the antibiotic and reduces the effectiveness. Some antibiotics must be given every six hours, some every eight, some every 24 hours. One prescription may n eed to be given with food and another on an empty stomach. One group of antibiotics might cause severe diarrhea, another could permanently discolor emerging tooth enamel if given to young pups, while another group could cause bone marrow suppression, and another potentially harm the auditory nerve and cause permanent deafness.

The moral of this story is that antibiotics should be prescribed only when truly needed, and then be used according to the directions. If your veterinarian seems reluctant to dispense an antibiotic when your dog has the sniffles, now you know why. Take heart that if the sniffles turn into something worse, antibiotics will be available, and most likely, more effective for your dog as a result of being judiciously prescribed.


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