Bacterial infection in cats and dogs (see also Eye and Ear section)
Cats and dogs are susceptible to various bacterial infections caused by a range of bacteria. These include:
- Skin infections, such as deep and superficial pyodermas,
which are usually caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. Symptoms include
itching and irritation, pustules (Inflamed swellings on the skin filled
with pus), sores and patches of hair loss.
tract infections; such as cystitis. Symptoms include blood in the
urine, abnormal or frequent urination in inappropriate places, blockage
of the urethra (tube leading from the bladder) usually caused by
Staphylococcus and Proteus bacteria.
- Pneumonia is a
lower respiratory tract infection usually due to the bacteria
Bordetella bronchiseptica and Streptococcus zooepidemicus as well as
others; also fungal or viral infection. The infection causes
inflammation of the lung tissue, with symptoms including difficulty
breathing, fluid on the lungs, cough, fever and loss of appetite.
respiratory tract infections include infections of the nose throat and
sinuses. Kennel cough is a form of bronchitis that is common infection
in dogs and is caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica.
Infection with other bacteria such as Streptococcus, cause symptoms
including congestion, cough and inflammation.
is inflammation of the small intestine and can be caused by bacterial
infection with a range of different bacteria, including Salmonella,
Shigella, Staphylococcus and Escherichia coli. Symptoms include,
vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration and fever.
Commonly Prescribed Antibiotics for Dogs and Cats
Penicillin Class Antibiotics
In many infections, penicillins may be one of the first antibiotics used for treatment before further testing is done or a culture is taken.
Amoxicillin is an FDA-approved antibiotic medication commonly used in dogs and cats to treat susceptible infections. This may include urinary infections, respiratory tract infections, some infections of the skin, Helicobacter infections and Lyme disease or as part of a combination protocol for liver and biliary disease, serious systemic infections, or sepsis. It is generally considered to be safe because unwanted side effects are relatively uncommon. Some staphylococci are resistant to it.
Clavamox (amoxicillin-clavulanic acid) is a broad-spectrum penicillin-type antibiotic. It is the veterinary equivalent of Augmentin for humans, combining Amoxicillin with Clavunic Acid to increase effectiveness and prevent resistance. Clavamox was developed specifically for veterinary use in dogs and cats. It is given orally, by tablet or suspension drops, to fight off bacterial infections and is most commonly used to treat Skin infections, Soft tissue infections (wounds, abscesses, pyoderma, cellulitis, etc.) and Periodontal infections
Fluoroquinolone Class Antibiotics
Baytril (Enrofloxacin) is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, FDA approved for use in dogs and cats, effective against many types of bacteria and infections. It is often used in difficult to treat infections such as bone infections, ear infections, sinus infections, pneumonias and more. Baytril is in the class of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Other Common fluoroquinolone antibiotics used in dogs include: Orbifloxacin (Orbax), Marbofloxacin (Zeniquin) and Ciprofloxacin.
Tetracycline Class Antibiotics
Doxycycline for dogs (also used off label for cats) is a broad spectrum antibiotic that kills different types of bacterial infections in pets. Itís commonly administered to cure dogs suffering from tick borne diseasessuch as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, or anaplasmosis; heartworm disease and Chlamydia. In addition to this, vets often prescribe doxycycline to treat urinary tract infections and certain medical conditions like the Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Doxycycline can be used to treat respiratory infections, such as kennel cough. It is also effective against leptospirosis, Bartonella spp., and some staph infections. Minocycline is another tetracycline antibiotic that is used on occasion.
Cephalosporin Class Antibiotics
Keflex (Cephalexin) is used in both dogs and cats to treat a variety of bacterial infections, including skin infections, wound infections, bone infections, pneumonia, and bladder infections. Other common Cephalosporins include Cefpodoxime (Simplicef)
, a long-acting injectable antibiotic for dogs and cats. As the brand name implies, this drug is highly convenient. A single injection under your dog's skin will work for up to 14 days. In general, it is used to treat wounds, skin infections, periodontal disease, abscesses, urinary tract infections, and soft tissue infections.
Nitroimidazole Class Antibiotics
Metronidazole for dogs and cats (also known as Flagyl) is used primarily as an anti-diarrheal medication for dogs and cats. It is effective against certain protozoal infections including Giardia, Trichomonas, and Balantidium coli as well as anaerobic bacterial pathogens.
Metronidazole may also be prescribed to relieve inflammation of the intestinal tract. Because the drug can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and bone, it is sometimes used to treat infections of the central nervous system, bones, and teeth.
Lincosamide Class Antibiotics
Antirobe(clindamycin) is used to treat bacterial infections in dogs due to susceptible bacteria, including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Bacteriodes, Prevotella and Fusobacterium. This antibiotic is used for infected wounds, toxoplasmosis, abscesses, dental infections and osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the bone or bone marrow.
Sulfonamide Class Antibiotics
Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim) is not FDA-approved for veterinary use; but it is commonly accepted practice for veterinarians to prescribe this medication for dogs and cats who generally respond well to it. Bactrim is especially effective for urinary tract infections. Bactrin is also used to treat respiratory, skin, or gastrointestinal infections, and other conditions.
How to Give Antibiotics to a Dog
Oral antibiotics should generally be given with food. Fortunately, one of the easiest ways to give your dog an antibiotic pill or capsule is to hide it in a piece of dog-safe food. Commercial treat pouches are also available that can easily conceal a pill. These are a great option for dogs with food allergies, as hypoallergenic varieties are available.
However, if you're having difficulty with this method, you can try crushing the pills or open up a capsule to better hide the taste of the pill. Certain formulations of dog antibiotics may be flavored and chewable, so dogs will simply take them like a treat.
Some antibiotics can be dispensed in a liquid form (usually for smaller dogs) and must be squirted into the mouth using a dropper or syringe. It may be tempting to mix these medications into your dog's water bowl, but this isn't recommended, as the entire dose needs to be given at one time.