Metronidazole in Dogs (Everything You Need to Know)

There happen to be many pet-friendly drugs in the market.  That not only does their work efficiently but is also side effects free. When it comes to pet health, the toughest of the breed can come up with any unwanted health issue. Metronidazole is one of those drugs that have proven to be a boon for dogs and cats and have played a significant role in pet health. 

What is Metronidazole and how does it work?

Your vet might refer to metronidazole as an antibiotic and antiprotozoal used to treat various medical conditions. Metronidazole can help you get relief from inflammatory bowel diseases, non-specific diarrheal disorders.  This antibiotic is also widely in use to cure a certain kind of protozoal infections which might occur by food ingestion or contaminated water. However mixed protozoal infections aren’t single-handedly cured by metronidazole alone, it is paired with other antibiotics in that matter.  Metronidazole only has activity against anaerobic bacteria it cannot fight mixed infections all by itself. It’s best to pair metronidazole with penicillin antibiotics, aminoglocydes, and cephlesorphis when fighting the infection better.

Metronidazole directly attacks the DNA of the disease-causing bacteria, killing it by disturbing it, giving your dog an instant relief. It is later absorbed rapidly by the dog’s GI tract, metabolized by the liver, and exerted out of the body through either urine or feces. 

How to use metronidazole efficiently?

One tablet of metronidazole comes either in the 250 or 500 mg variant, thus it’s very important to consult a vet for a proper prescription. It should be duly noted that in no case the following anti-biotic should be given to your dog without any specialized vet’s care. 

The following antibiotic has an extended use in humans as well, but as dogs have relatively small digestive tracks, they usually digest the medicine before passing it.

Important direction to follow while using metronidazole for your pet

  1. Your vet might also recommend metronidazole to modulate the immune of your pet while fighting diarrhea. its better to give the dosage with meals, as metronidazole being a bitter antibiotic, can be tolerated better with food.
  2. Metronidazole can also come in use depending on your pet’s condition.
  3. Metronidazole comes in market as tablets and the typical dosage goes by 5-20mg/kg as of your dog’s weight. 
  4. Depending upon the antibiotic’s flavor and compounds used during preparation by various pharmaceutical companies. Its duration, dosage, and frequency vary.

What do owners should take care of while using metronidazole for their pets?

Metronidazole is an excellent antibiotic when used as advised while the anti-biotic might have certain sideline characteristics that need to be taken care of.  While the veterinarian might wish to perform a blood test on your pet daily to make sure they aren’t facing any negative effects of the medicine. 

 Following are the points to take care of before/while using metronidazole for your pet

  1. Even though the sole purpose of metronidazole is to cure inflammatory bowel diseases.  It might as well result in causing diarrhea, which might be a sign of another infection.
  2. Always inform your vet beforehand if your dog is allergic to metronidazole or another antibiotic.
  3. Any antibiotic should not be prescribed in large doses if your dog is suffering from liver disease or anemia or any kind of nerve disorder.
  4. The antibiotic also seems to have proven to be reason for birth disorders upon testing in the lab. Always inform your vet if your dog is pregnant.
  5. Young puppies have delicate bodies and even more fragile digestive system. Metronidazole is not suitable for puppies and hence is highly unsafe for them.
  6. If your dog’s feces are watery or you notice any blood in it, contact your vet right away.
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This following table depicts the average dosage chart for a dog

WeightDosage
Can be of any weight any breedThe usual dose is 5-20 mg/kg of your pet’s body weight, by mouth, in divided doses – it strictly depends on your pet’s condition. The dose might alter, depending on the condition.

Benefits associated with metronidazole

Metronidazole has a series of key benefits when taken properly to fight diarrhea or a certain infection. It is also used to treat the central nervous system, due to its remarkable ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

The key benefits of metronidazole are as follows

  1. Metronidazole undertakes a large variety of diseases under a single precaution.  Ranging from diarrhea to various protozoa infections such as giardia, entamoeba, and trichomonas. 
  2. It is one of the very few antibiotics which efficiently treat inflammatory bowel diseases.
  3. Diarrheal disorders can be hard to cure in pets and even harder to spot; metronidazole takes care of these very efficiently.
  4. The medicine also has a great grip while treating intestinal parasites also called giardia.
  5. In addition to metronidazole’s usage in diarrhea. periodontal diseases also has a wide use of metronidazole.  It helps in the reduction of spirochetes and gram-negative anaerobic rods.

The medicine can have a very strong impact on your dog’s health if given in excess or if given more than prescribed. 

Metronidazole side effects

It is considered to be a very safe drug and has a very less set of problems that might arise which are rare in most cases. It should be duly noted to not prescribe or use metronidazole on your pregnant dog or young puppies.

However, as we jump on to the side effects caused by metronidazole, which again are rare and very less likely to be experienced.  Liver damage, the neurological conditions might occur to be one of the few side effects caused by metronidazole. 

Common Side effects that might occur due to metronidazole

  1. One of the most common side effects which have been seen in the pets taking metronidazole is bad taste and gastrointestinal upset.
  2. You might see your dog pawing at the mouth or have decreased appetite during the initial dose of metronidazole.
  3. Salivation, gagging, and regurgitation after food can be common too.  Most of these symptoms are common and are not serious.
  4. during initial doses or by an accidental overdose, your dog might experience vomiting or nausea.

The common side effects that metronidazole carry is very normal and does not require you to worry.  Less common or rare side effects by metronidazole, which generally do not occur but are serious as follows –

  1. If you find your dog suffering from weakness or depression, it can be one of the risky signs. in that case its best to consult a veterinarian and then go forward with the procedure.
  2. Repeated diarrhea with watery feces or feces having blood can be signs of a much serious infection.
  3. Low white blood cell is also a major risky side effect.  As a part of the treatment, your veterinarian might constantly take your pet’s blood test to keep a note of that.
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One of the few things to remember is to never accidentally overdose the dog. Neurological signs are also one of the result of that or as a result of a long term treatment, fighting complex infections.

While it’s still very unlikely for dogs to show any rare symptoms with metronidazole being such a safe drug. if there happens to be any side affects , it can be easily seen after 10-12 days of dosage. 

Owners might also require to keep an watch-eye on their pet to take care of side effects. It is, does very necessary to keep constant track of the behavioral changes, feces, drooling, and other such factors.  When it comes to storing metronidazole, they should be kept in tightly kept containers, protected from light.

Metronidazole also comes in gel, for various skin infections. metronidazole also comes in liquid variant which should be kept refrigerated.