bottle of typical MetronidazoleMetronidazole in the bottle prescription

All About Metronidazole For Dogs

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By Johnny Bevers

We all want the best for our pet so it is wise to know just a little about any medication your vet has prescribed them.  Metronidazole is commonly administered in the form of Flagyl.  Flagyl is the brand name; metronidazole is the active ingredient it contains.  From now on in this article the two names will be used interchangeably.  Flagyl is an antibiotic and fights bacteria that thrive without oxygen (anaerobic bacteria) and some parasites.  Metronidazole is also administered to humans who suffer from bacterial or parasitic infections.  Although metronidazole is not FDA approved for use in animals, it is common practice for veterinarians to prescribe this drug as it meets certain conditions that make this legal.  Generally speaking, this is a safe drug; well, as safe as a drug can be.  However your dog may, in some circumstances, exhibit side-effects.  This is not common, but can happen.

Why Metronidazole Is Prescribed For Dogs?

Metronidazole For Dogs

Your vet may decide to prescribe your dog metronidazole for a variety of reasons; it is a very effective drug that is used to treat a wide variety of ailments, both bacterial and parasitic.  Should your dog be suffering from diseases of the intestine, in particular a disease that causes inflammation of this organ, your vet may choose Flagyl to treat it.  These diseases of the intestine include Giardia, Entamoeba, Trichomanas and others.  In addition this wonderfully versatile drug can be used to treat infections of the central nervous system, infections of the mouth, constipation and diarrhea.

Side-Effects of Metronidazole In Dogs

metronidazole button have you had yours todayIn the vast majority of cases pets, and indeed humans, take this drug with no side-effects what so ever.  Metronidazole, however, is not completely without potential side-effects.  It is extremely important that you make your vet aware of any pre-existing conditions your dog may have, any ailments he has had in the past and any other medication it is taking.

Metronidazole and dog togetherThe most common side-effects, because this drug is administered orally in the pet’s food, are related to the taste of the medicine; it doesn’t taste too great!  Of course for a human we can just put it on the back of the tongue and swallow it down with a glass of water.  If only dogs could master this skill! Instead, though, they chew the drug in their food and their food is usually not enough to disguise the taste of this drug from their sensitive taste buds.  When you are administering this drug to your dog you might consider putting it in their absolute favorite food i.e. blue cheese, peanut butter, whatever you know they’ll do anything for.  Even if you do this, however, your pooch may still show signs of discomfort through excess salivating caused by nausea, gagging or in extreme cases, vomiting.

Your dog may also suffer from lethargy, loss of appetite and diarrhea and in even more serious cases you may observe blood in the urine or hives or rashes. IMPORTANT:  Observe your dog carefully when it is receiving metronidazole.  If you notice any of the side-effects above, talk to your vet immediately and ask for advice.  In fact, when your dog is receiving any medicine at all you should be observing it closely.

Precautions To Consider When Taking Metronidazole

Metronidazole puppy on pottyMetronidazole should only be given to adult dogs, not to puppies.  In addition, it should not be given to pregnant dogs as this may cause abnormal development in her puppies, nor to nursing dogs for the same reason.  In addition, it is unlikely to be prescribed to your dog if it has, or has had, any serious liver or kidney problems or if it is taking certain other medicines that may react to metronidazole.  IMPORTANT:  Make very sure that you tell your veterinarian of any medication your dog is taking and any previous illnesses it has had.

What Will Happen If You Mistakenly Take This Medication

Metronidazole dog and ladyNot a lot really in most cases.  The exception is if you drink alcohol as well, in which case you will get a very intense headache.  But you shouldn’t be taking this drug unless it is specifically prescribed to you by your doctor.  Metronidazole is commonly prescribed to humans, in Flagyl form, for the treatment of, like dogs, bacterial and parasitic infections.  It is not unusual for humans to be prescribed the same medicine as a dog might be, as we are both mammals with similar organs and bodies.  However, the doses will be somewhat different due, mainly, to differences in weight.  Humans might be prescribed Flagyl for giardia, liver abscesses, amoebic dysentery, infections of the colon and trichomoniasis.

So, if you have mistakenly taken this drug, don’t panic too much but do contact your doctor and make him aware of any pre-existing conditions you may have especially any conditions relating to the liver or kidneys.

If a child has taken this medicine, again, don’t panic, but immediately contact you personal doctor for advice and / or pay a visit to the emergency room.  The reason that you should be more worried if your child has taken it is because any dose they have taken that was meant for a dog will be larger compared to their body weight than if you had taken it.  In addition, with kids, it is often difficult to determine exactly how much / many they have taken.  Moreover, it’s a child, and you really don’t want to take any risks with a child.  Again, when you are talking to a doctor about your child, make sure that they are aware of any pre-existing medical conditions, especially liver and kidney problems.

How Much Should You Expect To Pay At The Vet?

Metronidazole after vet visitWell, you will of course have to pay your usual consultation fee and for any diagnosis work that the veterinarian has to perform, this will most likely be blood work.  The consultation and blood work fees vary widely from veterinarian to veterinarian but the consultation fee will be somewhere in the 30 dollar range and the cost of any blood work somewhere in the 100 dollar range.  The cost of the medicine itself is not especially high, but will of course depend on the dosage of the medicine and the duration of the treatment.  A 500 mg tablet costs approximately a dollar.

So, a mid-sized dog such as a Labrador or Collie on a one week course would cost you somewhere between approximately 25 to 35 dollars in medicine costs.  IMPORTANT:  These costs are approximate averages only.  There are not to be used to determine dosage.  The dosage, frequency of dosage and duration of the course must be determined by your veterinarian only, not by you or indeed anyone else who is not a trained veterinarian.

Metronidazole is one of the more commonly prescribed drugs for dogs and you shouldn’t be unduly worried about administering it to your pet.  Follow the prescription exactly and do not discontinue the medicine early even if your pet seems to have recovered.  While the dog is taking the medicine, and for a week or so afterwards, observe it carefully for any side effects and contact your veterinarian should you see any of the side effects mentioned in this article or any other unusual behavior.

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