Metronidazole For Dogs
Metronidazole for dogs is a multipurpose wonder drug that treats many canine illnesses. Metronidazole is the generic name for the brand name drug Flagyl. It is an antibiotic medication for dogs and other animals that is used to treat bacterial infections.
Metronidazole for dogs is not approved by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) in the United States. It is however, approved for human use by the FDA. This, and the effectiveness of the drug, may be the reason why veterinarians feel comfortable using it with animals.
Vets use it to treat serious and sometimes life threatening bacterial infections in dogs. These infections can cause even more severe ailments in dogs if they are not treated quickly enough.
Metronidazole is especially effective at killing protozoal infections in dogs. These are one-celled microscopic parasites that live in water and are spread from uncooked meat, or the stools of cats.
This drug also is prescribed by vets as an anti-inflammatory, meaning they relieve pain, swelling, stiffness, and inflammation in an animal’s bones, muscles and joints.
Metronidazole is a powerful drug and must be prescribed by a vet and taken carefully following the vet’s direction so do not give this drug to your dog without a veterinarian’s direction.
This medication is taken as a pill and after digestion in the dog’s stomach, it passes through the intestines where it is absorbed and further broken down by the liver. A dog’s bones are very good also at absorbing the drug which makes it ideal for use in cases of tooth infections.
Generally a vet will direct the dog owner to give the dog Metronidazole 3 or 4 times a day for about a week, much like antibiotics are prescribed by medical doctors.
If the drug doesn’t work to clear the infection, other antibiotics such as penicillin may be recommended. After antibiotic treatment, a quality probiotic to restore digestive gut health can be added to your dog’s food. Antibiotics are broad spectrum meaning they kill the bad and the good bacteria in your dog’s stomach and intestine. Left on his own, your dog’s body will take month’s to recover the good bacteria, without the aid of a supplement.
What is Metronidazole Used for in Dogs?
Many ailments in dogs are treated with Metronidazole, such as these diseases:
- Dental diseases
- Diarrhea caused by intestinal worms
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Liver disease
Balantidium in Dogs
In dogs, it is a disease of the gastrointestinal system. Once it is ingested, the parasite takes up residence in the dog’s large intestine. From there it can produce severe ulcers if not treated with Metronidazole. It feeds on fecal matter and starchy food in the intestine.
Symptoms of Balantidium coli in dogs include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody and mucusoid stools
- Poor growth
- Weight loss
As long as the dog is kept away from the original source of the infection, the parasite can run its course and be expelled after several bouts of diarrhea. If it is stubborn, a veterinarian should be consulted which may result in a metronidazole prescription. Taken for a few weeks, it should be cleared from the dog’s intestines.
Dental Diseases in Dogs
Unfortunately, most dogs experience dental diseases such as plaque which turns into calculus that forms cavities, and bad breath. Gum disease can actually show itself in dogs as young as three years old.
Dog oral diseases are normally the result of bad dental hygiene on the part of the pet owner.
Oral health can negatively influence the health of a dog not just in the mouth, but in many critical areas of his body.
Heart problems can actually stem from poor dental hygiene. Bacteria it the mouth, if not cleaned out regularly, is swallowed by the dog and enters his blood stream. This can cause arterial plaque (hardening of the arteries), and even heart attacks in older dogs.
You can’t see the bacteria in a dog’s mouth, so often it is too late to save a tooth until the cavity shows up. Then the only solution may be to extract the tooth, which is painful for the dog and painful for your bank account.
Chew treats that are manufactured specifically for a dog’s teeth, dog chew toys, and a brushing a few times a week are sometimes all that is required to keep dental problems away.
Symptoms of Dental Disease in Dogs include:
- Aggressive or growly if you touch his muzzle
- Bad breath
- Behavior changes and irritability
- Cysts or sores under the tongue
- Dental abscess and pus around the gum line
- Excessive drooling
- Fractured tooth
- Inflamed gums
- Lack of appetite
- Loose teeth
- Pawing the face and muzzle area
- Red (not normal pink) gums
- Sneezing, (could be a tooth infection)
- Tumors in the gums
- Weight loss
If you notice any of these symptoms and they don’t go away, take your dog to your vet. He will give your pooch an anesthetic to put him out so the vet can thoroughly examine your dog’s mouth.
If an antibiotic is needed to kill an oral infection, Metronidazole may be prescribed. Abscesses in the mouth are particularly treatable using Metronidazole. Pathogens that thrive in an abscess do so because of the lack of oxygen within the infection. These are called anaerobic environments, and this drug targets them effectively.
Diarrhea in Dogs Caused by Intestinal Worms
They are very common infections that feed on the undigested starch found in the digestive system.
These canine intestinal parasites can cause stomach problems for long periods of time if untreated.
Symptoms of Parasitic Intestinal Worms in Dogs include:
- Dull coat
- Itchiness in the rectal area
- Itching and Signs of Skin Irritations
- Low energy
- Potbellied appearance
- Weight loss
- Worms visible in fur
- Worms visible in stool
- Worms visible in vomit
If left untreated, worms will damage your dog’s intestines. More severe results are a loss of consciousness or even death. Dewormers like Panacur usually get rid of the worms, but tougher infections may need Metronidazole.
Entamoeba in Dogs
It is a very serious disease in dogs that can be fatal.
It affects people and cats, in addition to dogs.
It has been seen in North America, but is most common in more tropical areas.
There are two types of Entamoeba:
- Entamoeba histolytica if severe causes colitis which shows as bloody diarrhea. Once it spreads through the blood stream it attacks major organs, and results in death of the dog.
- Acanthamoeba causes very serious symptoms of brain inflammation, seizures, fever, lethargy, eye discharge, and difficulty breathing.
Dogs are typically infected by Entamoeba by drinking contaminated water that contains sewage and human feces. Puppies are especially susceptible as they have undeveloped immune systems.
Dehydration is an early symptom that can warn you. Your vet will so a series of tests including blood and urine testing, biopsy of the colon, and even extract spinal fluid.
Giardia in Dogs
Most dogs infected by Giardia don’t show symptoms but become carriers of Giardia.
Dogs with weak immune systems such as puppies and elderly dogs will develop symptoms.
Humans can get the Giardia parasite from their dogs.
How Do Dogs Get Giardia?
Again, this is one of those parasitic diseases that dogs get when they eat feces of cats or other dogs.
Symptoms of Giardia in Dogs
Diarrhea with a stronger than normal odor and lasting more than 48 hours, is the first symptom of Giardia. Dogs with Giardia may have a normal appetite but still be losing weight. Dehydration is also a symptom of Giardia.
Your vet will be able to detect Giardia in normal checkups, by talking with you about your dog’s behavior, or in stool samples. Metronidazole is the correct prescription for this parasite which should easily clear it up. Do not buy metronidazole online yourself; get a vet to prescribe it. The amount given can cause sickness if it is not correct, based on your dog’s weight and how long he has had symptoms of Giardia.
After a bout of Giardia, prevention of future reinfections is as simple as bathing your dog and removing dried feces, and cleaning poop from your backyard where your dog may find it.
There is a vaccine that can be given to puppies as young as 8 weeks old, with booster shots given periodically.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs
Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs is a result of your dog’s immune system trying to fend off an infection in the intestines. The immune system causes inflammation in the intestines which upsets the intestines resulting in symptoms of IBD.
Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs include:
- Dehydration / thirst
- Lethargy / loss of interest in playing or exercise
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Weight loss
Using blood, urine, and stool samples, your vet will try to rule out bacterial and viral infections or parasites as a cause of the symptoms.
After that, a biopsy of the colon is needed to confirm IBD.
IBD causes excessive amount of white blood cells to be released in the immune system, so the reason for this must be found by your vet.
Since metronidazole is an anti-inflammatory drug, your vet will prescribe it to lower the swelling, in the intestinal tract, thereby reducing pain.
After that, making changes in your dog’s diet is a good way to discover the cause of the IBD.
Liver Disease in Dogs
The liver is the largest organ in a dog’s body, and is responsible for helping digestion, cleansing the blood and removing waste.
Causes of Liver Disease in Dogs:
- Bacterial infection
- Bad diet
- Birth defect of the liver
- Heatstroke which damages a dogs liver
- Injury to the liver from an accident
- Overuse of prescription drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Pesticides and other poisons
- Too many vaccinations
- Viral infection
Symptoms of Liver Disease in Dogs:
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Feces of abnormal gray or pale color
- Increased water consumption
- Lethargy and / or depression
- Loss of appetite
- Seizure or pacing
- Swollen belly
- Urine that is dark, and increased amounts of urine
- Vomiting and diarrhea
Again, Metronidazole will probably be prescribed as it covers a wide range of problems including the inflammation, infections, and pain of liver disease. After that your vet will run tests on body fluids to determine the liver disease cause, and a more permanent treatment that may cure the disease.
Metronidazole Side Effects in Dogs
- Diarrhea, especially if bloody
- Dry mouth
- Nausea or vomiting
- Oral sores
- Seizures or pacing
Dogs that are pregnant or lactating should not be on this metronidazole.
Dogs on other antibiotics may experience more negative side effects when Metronidazole is added.
Talk to your Veterinarian to be sure.
Metronidazole Dosage for Dogs
So as an example, Metronidazole 500Mg for dogs that are about 80 pounds (6 x 80 = 480) would be a typical dosage of Metronidazole.
Your dog may not like the taste and show signs of drooling or gagging, due to the bitter metallic taste of this drug. Adding it to peanut butter is a good way to mask the taste.