Metronidazole For Dogs: Everything You Need To Know

Many people are unaware that metronidazole is also used to treat certain infections in dogs. It’s important to understand the side effects of metronidazole before giving your dog metronidazole, as it can be toxic to them if they have a pre-existing condition or other health problem. In this guide you will learn about metronidazole for dogs and how it is used safely.

What is Metronidazole?

Metronidazole is an antibiotic used to treat infections. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria, including metronidazole-resistant strains. metronidazole has also been successfully used in treating certain parasitic (helminth) worm infestations and protozoan diseases like amoebiasis that affect both humans and animals.

Metronidazole was discovered during research into new anti-tuberculosis agents; however, its action against bacterial rather than mycobacterial species became apparent soon afterward so it was decided not to pursue development for use against tuberculosis alone but instead as a broader spectrum agent useful for other types of infection too. This decision would later prove fortunate because some TB organisms have developed resistance even to metronidazole.

Metronidazole is an anti-infective agent that has been used to treat all sorts of different infections, including giardia (a type of intestinal infection caused by the microscopic parasite Giardia lamblia), trichomoniasis (an STD transmitted through sexual contact or wet towels), and various types of bacterial gastroenteritis, as well as protozoan infestations like leishmaniasis, amoebic dysentery, bacteremia/septicemia, tetanus, Parvo, and gas gangrene. It can also be used for oral metronidazole therapy in anthrax exposure; however antibiotic coverage should still include a β-lactam antibacterial such as penicillin, cefoxitin, or a carbapenem (imipenem), as metronidazole does not cover anaerobic bacteria.

How does it work in Dogs?

The metronidazole works by disturbing the bacterial (or protozoal) cell wall. This means that both anaerobic and aerobic organisms are affected, which is why metronidazole often, but not always, can be used in dogs with confidence. Metronidazole has usually bacteriostatic activity against most obligate anaerobes, however, it can still sometimes cause damage to gingival tissue if given orally because metronidazole penetrates rapidly through the red blood cells of whole blood into tissues where there is no oxygen present such as dental pulp or skin infections sites. It also inhibits protein synthesis in microorganisms so its use should only be reserved for serious cases when other antibiotics have failed. Metronidazole is contraindicated in patients with severe hepatic or renal impairment, porphyria, and methemoglobinemia.

Some metronidazoles could lead to photosensitivity reactions; therefore animals should be prevented from sunlight exposure if metronidazole gel has been applied to the skin. This is a similar process compared to other common medications for dogs such as trazodone or allergy medications.

Gel formulations of metronidazole are used for short-term treatment (up to four weeks) whereas tablets may need longer-term use depending on the severity of symptoms. The usual dose rate that can be given orally twice daily is 20mg/kg body weight however this dosage range will vary between different veterinary professionals so it’s important to follow their advice when giving metronidazole medication specifically to dogs.

When to use it for Dogs

Metronidazole is used to treat infections caused by certain types of bacteria in dogs metronidazole has also been effective for the treatment of other conditions, including:

Trichomoniasis (a sexually transmitted disease that causes inflammation and irritation of the genital tract in both male and female dogs)

Fungal dermatitis or “hot spots” on your dog’s skin.

Infections in the ears of dogs are caused by yeast and bacteria. metronidazole can be applied directly into your dog’s ear or given as a tablet, capsule, or liquid that you place in their food. it may take up to two weeks for metronidazole to work against these types of infection.

Severe inflammation (inflammation is redness and swelling that occurs when tissues are injured) due to arthritis (a joint disease characterized by inflammation, pain, and stiffness). metronidazole works best if begun early in the course of this condition.

Certain skin conditions such as demodectic mange, fungal dermatitis (also known as hot spots), and ear infections. metronidazole is effective in most cases of pyoderma when used properly.

Metronidazole can also be given to dogs who have been infected with or exposed to Giardia intestinalis, a microscopic parasite that causes diarrhea. metronidazole will not kill the parasites once they are established in your dog’s body but it may help prevent them from multiplying and causing additional symptoms such as weight loss, cramps, bloating, or fatigue.

Side effects and precautions of Metronidazole in Dogs

Metronidazole is a prescription medication used to treat bacterial infections. It can help fight off infection, but it does have some side effects and precautions that you should know about before giving metronidazole to your dog.

Side Effects: Vomiting, loss of appetite, tiredness or weakness are all possible metronidazole side effects in dogs. If these symptoms persist for more than 24 hours after administering metronidazole then contact your veterinarian immediately as this may be an indication of a serious reaction from the drug. Other potential metronidazole side effects include diarrhea and discolored urine (red/brown).

Precautions: Metronidazole should not be given to pregnant dogs. It should also not be given to female dogs who are nursing puppies or within two weeks of the last mating period.

The metronidazole can interact with other medications, vitamins, and supplements that your dog may be taking so it is important to always speak with a veterinarian before giving metronidazole to make sure no negative interactions occur.

Where to get Metronidazole for dogs 

You can buy metronidazole for dogs online or off of a veterinarian’s prescription. However, metronidazole is typically not prescribed unless your dog has an infection and needs to be treated with antibiotics. Metronidazole should always be used as directed by the vet. Over-the-counter metronidazole does not have directions that come with it, so you will need to consult your vet about dosage amounts and how long you should use the medication before expecting results from treatment. It may take up to 18 weeks after beginning metronidazole treatments until all symptoms are gone completely; this means three months on metronidazole followed by another three months without any metronidazole at all. If your dog still has symptoms after metronidazole treatments, you will need to get a second antibiotic treatment or move on to other forms of therapy, like herbal remedies and natural supplements for dogs.

Dosage instructions for dogs

Dosage instructions for metronidazole in dogs is as follows:

For mild cases, administer 125 mg to 250mg every 12 hours. In more severe conditions, give 500 mg every six hours or 100mg/kg of metronidazole twice a day until symptoms improve.

If the dog has the liver disease then the metronidazole dosage may be lower and it should not exceed 25%-30% of normal dose levels. Administer metronidazole with food if possible to increase its absorption rate by at least 50%. Do not break tablets before giving them orally because this will reduce their effectiveness due to immediate release into the intestine rather than the stomach which reduces contact time with metronidazole.

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Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM

Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM is a certified veterinarian who graduated from the University of California - Davis Veterinary School in 2012. He specializes in nutrition and veterinary medicine for companion animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and more. He has been featured in websites such as PetMD, Yahoo News, Hills Pet, Daily Paws, and more. Learn more about Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM.

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