Metronidazole for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and More!

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By: CertaPet Staff Updated: September 11, 2020

Metronidazole for Dogs

What is Metronidazole for dogs?  Well, the rumbling pain and discomfort we experience when we have the tummy bug can be intolerable! Thankfully we can tell the doctor and receive the pain relief we need.

Unlike us, our four-legged friends can’t tell us when they feel discomfort.

That’s why we need vets! Vets can look at various clinical signs and provide the pain relief and medication necessary. A popular drug used for stomach pain and diarrhea is metronidazole for dogs.

What is Metronidazole for Dogs?

Most stomach bugs are caused by bacteria, fungi or several other microorganisms. Like all nitroimidazole derivatives, metronidazole for dogs is both an antibacterial and antiprotozoal agent.

Commonly known as Flagyl, it works to restrict the growth and replication of microorganisms! This helps in reducing the effect these organisms can have on the animal, providing quick relief from the pain and discomfort.

Although it has no direct effect of analgesia, the nature of reducing the number of pathogenic organisms in the animal contributes massively. Metronidazole for dogs is one of the priority drugs for treating inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, and Giardia too!

Metronidazole 500 mg! Metronidazole Mechanism of Action

So how is exactly is this drug so versatile?

Metronidazole for dogs directly affects the DNA of the microorganism! Penetrating the organism and destroying the DNA, as well as preventing it from further creation is the primary mechanism for this drug. Its effective against certain protozoal infections, as well as anaerobic bacterial infections.

These include the likes of Giardia, trichomonas and balantidium coli, all very capable of causing inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease)! The anti-inflammatory effect it has in the gastrointestinal tract is thought to be due to immunosuppression of the immune system.

The immunosuppression seen with flagyl is only a small part, so not enough to make the animal vulnerable to secondary infection!

Metronidazole can also cross the blood-brain barrier! You’re probably wondering what the importance of this is. Well, unlike a lot of antibiotics, metronidazole can have an effect on bacteria invading the central nervous system!

So conditions such as peripheral neuropathy in dogs, and bacterial infections in the brain, can receive reliable medication. Flagyl can also penetrate bone! This means dental complications and bone infections can also receive this drug for an antibiotic treatment as well!

Metronidazole for Dogs side effects

It Can Also be Used on Felines! Metronidazole for Cats

Not only is metronidazole flagyl used to treat dogs, but it’s also prescribed for our feline friends too! Metronidazole for dogs works by the exact same mode of action as in dogs. The ability to destroy anaerobic bacteria is by far its best asset in cats!

A metronidazole injection is used commonly to treat cats with colitis (inflammation of the large intestine).

Colonitis, much like inflammatory bowel disease in dogs, can be very painful and cause bloody diarrhea! Flagyl can also be used topically for kitties with skin abscesses!

These typically come about from bites and male cats fighting. Some of these dermal infections are starved of oxygen so anaerobic bacteria can thrive in the skin! Just like dogs, cats suffering from periodontal disease and stomatitis can also benefit from metronidazole!

This is because the metronidazole for dogs has the ability to penetrate bone a teeth. However, we never see this drug for the treatment of respiratory diseases, as it primarily kills anaerobic bacteria. It’s not often you find bacteria starved of oxygen in the lings. Giving it in pill form can be difficult!

The drug is bitter and often re-made into a more palatable liquid for cats. Though if given successfully, it works just as good in cats as it does dogs!

Alternative to Metrodinazole: Vets Preferred Advanced Anti Diarrhea Liquid

For those not looking for prescribed medication, Vets Preferred Advanced Anti Diarrhea Liquid supplement quickly soothes pet’s upset stomach and stops diarrhea with an advanced anti-diarrheal dogs solution, which serves as a detoxifying agent that works against bacterial toxins!

Easy to administer, safe for dogs, and works quickly!

But as always, contact your vet to make sure your pet is good to take it!

Flagyl for Dogs: Drug Interactions!

It is crucial you know what medication your pet is on! Giving a thorough medical history is important for the vet when preparing treatment plans. Even vitamin supplements! This is because different drugs can interact if administered together and can cause some unwanted effects.

The few drugs which potentiate harm when given with metronidazole include cimetidine, phenobarbital, and warfarin. Phenobarbitol is known to negate the effects of metronidazole. So, although it may not cause direct harmful effects, it can stop the antibiotics from working, and hence provide little relief to the animal.

These are the three major drugs to be especially aware of when dealing flagyl. Failure to mention these medications to veterinarians could be disastrous!

Metronidazole for Dogs uses

Flagyl Uses! What Can this Antibiotic Treat?

There are all sorts of antibiotics designed to treat different types of bacteria. So, what can Flagyl treat?

Like the rest of the nitroimidazole derivatives, metronidazole is effective against some protozoa, anaerobic bacteria, and some parasites. It is a commonly used anti-diarrheal to treat inflammation of the large intestine, also known as Crohn’s disease.

Another large contribution to the popularity of Flagyl is the ability to treat giardia in dogs and cats. Giardia is caused by a protozoan parasite which causes the destruction of the intestinal cells! This leads to diarrhea, loss of appetite and often vomiting.

Luckily, with metronidazole Flagyl, it can be managed!

As mentioned earlier, metronidazole can penetrate bone and teeth making too! So, for the likes of periodontal disease and oral infection, metronidazole therapy is an adequate treatment. Other general bacterial infections causing diarrhea or sepsis are typically treatable with a metronidazole injection or appropriate dose.

However, it is important to keep in mind with the prolonged use of antibiotics can sometimes result in a yeast infection. So as the pet owner, it is important to be aware of these clinical signs! Your veterinarian will usually fill you in with these details when you receive a prescription!

Flagyl metronidazole has further uses too! A protozoan infection spread by ticks, Babesia gibsoni. This can present in a range of severity of signs, from mild skin irritation to a hemolytic crisis and systemic shock.

Precautions should be taken when dealing with pregnant and, young puppies, liver disease and kidney disease.

Precautions should be taken when dealing with pregnancy and lactating animals. It is not recommended these animals go on this medication as it can cause complication with young.

Metronidazole for Dogs side effect

Young animals should avoid flag too. Animals with liver disease and kidney disease (end-stage renal disease) are especially prone to showing complications if they are put on this treatment. This emphasizes the importance of thorough medical history and clinical exam!

To treat and avoid these clinical signs altogether, the magic starts with the right treatment!

Metronidazole Side Effects: This Drug can Cause Vomiting and Diarrhea in Dogs!

The ability for metronidazole to cross the blood-brain barrier means there is a higher chance neurological side effects can present. Neurological signs can range from mild depression and head tilts to seizures and paralysis in all four legs.

Though paralysis in the legs is rare, because of the severity, it is important to be aware of it! Depression will be quite common when using Flagyl, however, it is not something to be worried about!

There are also side effects not associated with the central nervous system. The most common and perhaps the most severe is an allergic reaction.

An allergic reaction may present as hives a rash or even rapid breathing. Regardless of the clinical signs, an allergic reaction can quickly become life threatening! So take your animal to a see a veterinarian fast.

The most common side effect of metronidazole in dogs is vomiting, usually accompanied by diarrhea. Sometimes other veterinary medicine will be prescribed to help with the nauseous feeling.

Drooling, blood in the urine and loss of appetite are seen from animal to animal but are of less importance and severity. For these, we do not prescribe any medication as they are not severe enough to need to.

However, in rare instances, metronidazole has been shown to cause pancreatitis. Prolonged use of this antibiotics can lead to the development of acute pancreatitis (and sometimes chronic pancreatitis) in dogs, which can have a domino effect of further GI tract health.

There haven’t been any extensive studies done yet on this topic, so this information is only suggestive. Though these are most of the side effects, often dogs will not show any at all!

Getting the Dose Right on Metronidazole: Dogs Need the Accuracy

After the correct diagnoses, then a decided drug for treatment next is the dose! The dose can be the difference between life and death, so it is important we get it right! Although metronidazole is not FDA approved in animals, it is considered safe to use by most veterinarians.

The normal dose rate for metronidazole for dogs is 5-20mg/kg, given orally as metronidazole tablets in divided quantities. The dosage for cats is typically around the same. If given more than once daily then the dose will obviously be smaller and vice versa. If you miss a dose, as soon as you remember, top it up!

However, if you don’t remember until the next day, forget the dose, don’t want to double dose our animal friends! If you think you may have over-dosed, take your animal to the vet immediately!

Clinical signs may be vomiting, nausea and dizziness. Metronidazole toxicity is a thing! They may suddenly develop neurological signs with an over-dose too! Seizures can quickly be controlled through intravenous diazepam administered by a vet.

What About Sucralfate for Dogs? Is it Dog Antibiotics?

Sucralfate for dogs is another wonderful drug! Though it is not at all an antibiotic! Sucralfate is used to treat ulcers in dogs, typically in the stomach.

Antibiotics work by killing a suppressing the pathogenic microorganism responsible for the disease. Sucralfate helps the gastric environment by absorbing, stimulating prostaglandin E and binding epidermal growth factor.

So you could say this drug is very busy too! Gastric ulcers are caused by excessive amounts of acid being produced in the stomach leading the abnormally high acidic environment.

This causes painful ulcerative lesions lining the stomach! Sucralfate hydroxy aluminum salt of sucrose octasulfate acts as a local mucosal adherent. In an environment with low pHs, such as the stomach, it forms a sticky viscous gel which adheres to the ulcers in the stomach wall.

what is Metronidazole for Dogs

The gel helps by buffering hydrogen ions, increasing secretion of bicarbonate and stimulating mucous secretion! Compared with antibiotics, this drug works in a very different way! However, it is necessary when dealing with a disease which doesn’t involve pathogens microorganisms!

Veterinarians will prescribe sucralfate to your dog if they are showing signs of stomach ulcers. Though its a lot easier to treat if you catch these nasties earlier! You may notice signs such as weight loss, weakness, rapid heart rate and blood in vomit. By this stage, the ulcers could be causing pain when eating and a very unhappy pet!

5 Facts You Need to Know About Antibiotics for Dogs!

  1. The classes of antibiotics we use for dogs are just the same as us humans! Though the dosage may be different, the mechanism of action for each respective class is the same!
  2. You may have heard your doctor mention the importance to finish your course of antibiotics when you’re sick. It’s not different with pets, you must finish the whole course! This is to help combat the rise of drug-resistant bacteria.
  3.  The different types of antibiotics work in different ways to stop the bacterial disease. Metronidazoles work by actually killing the bacteria, not just slowing the growth!
  4. Antibiotics such as metronidazole for dogs work well when there is already an unwanted infection present. Though some owners are taking it into their own hands to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place! Probiotics are a good place to start! They can come in powder, pill or even liquid form. They help to restore the healthy gut bacteria in your dogs gut, avoiding the imbalance of the nasty bacteria. If you talk to your vet, they will give you the best idea for which probiotics, hence bacteria to reach for when looking to invest!
  5. Leave to prescribing of this medicine to the vets! It is not possible to buy metronidazole unless you a vet, so leave the diagnostic up to the experts!

Disclaimer: This post may contain references to products from one or more of our partnered sites, Honest Paws and Vets Preferred. However, CertaPet content is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. Please seek veterinary advice for your own situation. For more on our terms of use, visit this page

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