So now that you understand how the overuse of antibiotics on your pet can lead to bacteria resistance, let’s presume that antibiotic therapy is still the best course of treatment for your dog or cat’s particular ailment. It is important to know how antibiotics work, what side effects you can expect, and how to alleviate an antibiotic’s impact on your dog’s overall health. This week, Wisconsin Pet Care continues its antibiotic series with answers to these questions.
How do antibiotics work? Bacteria exist everywhere. There are “good” bacteria (like those found in your pup’s intestinal tract – which help him extract the nutrients from his food), and there are bad bacteria (like Salmonella, which is the cause of food poisoning). A healthy dog’s immune system fights off bad bacteria constantly. However, if bad bacteria make it past your dog’s immune responses, they will begin reproducing in the body and cause disease. That’s where antibiotics come in to play. Antibiotics are selectively lethal to bacteria. Their design is to kill off the bacteria, yet keep the body’s cells unharmed.
What side effects can you expect from antibiotic therapy? Because all bacteria can be affected by the use of antibiotics, the side effects are often a response to your dog’s body being out of balance. If there are not enough “good” bacteria to balance out the “bad” bacteria, many side effects can occur, including:
*UTIs/Kidney or Liver Disease
*Inability to absorb vitamins (such as potassium, zinc and folic acid)
Your dog’s lowered immunity allows other bacteria and viruses to enter the body much easier, causing some of these side effects to take a long-term toll of your companion’s health and wellness.
How can you alleviate an antibiotic’s impact on your dog’s overall health?
*In our previous post, we mentioned the use of probiotics in conjunction with antibiotic therapy. Probiotics are “healthy” bacteria that, when ingested, can help restore balance in the body. While the antibiotic’s job is to destroy all bacteria living in the body, the probiotic’s job is to add good bacteria to the mix. Studies have shown that adding probiotics may help prevent the acquisition of some of the aforementioned side effects, such as yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
*Boost your dog’s immunity. While the body is healing, it will not be naturally performing at its best (which is why it is so easy to continue getting sick even when you are on antibiotics). Therefore, this is a prime time to utilize supplements and nutrition. Feeding your dog high quality food (raw would be best), as well as trying supplements (like garlic that has been specifically formulated for dogs) can go a long way in softening the, oftentimes, harsh side effects of antibiotic therapy.
Next week Wisconsin Pet Care will finish our antibiotic series by discussing the popular pet antibiotic, amoxicillin; as well as the importance of completing the entire round of antibiotic therapy as prescribed by your veterinarian.