What is Metronidazole?
Metronidazole is an antibiotic used to treat infections, in particular protozoal infections (parasitic disease infections) and anaerobic bacterial infections (infections which thrive without using oxygen). Metronidazole also tends to reduce the inflammation of bowels. Metronidazole is not FDA-approved for use in veterinary medicine; however, it is widely accepted practice for veterinarians to use this medication in dogs.
Metronidazole for Dogs, Treatment of Giardia Infections
Metronidazole for dogs is prescribed to take care of a protozoal infection. This class of infections includes Giardia or Trichomonas. Commonly when given to dogs, this drug is termed as Flagyl. Anaerobic infections in dogs generally occur at sites such as mouth, gastrointestinal tract, deep wounds, vagina, internal organs and surgery or wound locations. Metronidazole for dogs also acts against a prevalent irritable bowel syndrome
thanks to its immune modulating activity in addition to non-specific diarrhea. Veterinarians also recommend this drug for periodontal problems, an onset of tetanus and cases of pancreatic insufficiency along with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Severe liver ailments can also be brought under control using this medication. Metronidazole is found to work best for dogs when it is given to them along with their meals. A common complaint with regards to this medicine is its bitter taste. To overcome this, various flavors and different types of the drug are being created. This huge variety has a bearing on the strength of the dosage, its duration and the use of the drug itself. Metronidazole is also often given in combination with other drugs to treat severe infections.
However, it has been seen that some dogs may experience side effects or even toxicity due to the consumption of this antibiotic. The most observed side effects in dogs are afore mentioned aversive response to the bitter taste; a hint of stomach upset and reduced appetite. When on this medication, canines show signs of extreme salivation, retching, reflux, regurgitation, mouth pawing, queasiness or vomiting.
When metronidazole for dogs is administered, one may also observe less ordinary and more extreme side effects of depression, general malaise, a drop in the white blood cell count, presence of blood in the urine and liver problems. Symptoms of toxicity begin to manifest themselves anywhere between 7-12 days after the dog has started taking the medication. In a majority of the cases, these reactions tend to subside in a matter of days once the medication has been discontinued.
Another batch of side effects that is observed after starting metronidazole for dogs is neurological side effects. These include conditions such as nystagmus (unintentional eye movement), enlarged pupils, ataxia (absence of co-ordination), a marked tilting of the head, shudders, confusion, rigidity and at times even seizures are observed.
These greatly alarming signs are mostly encountered when metronidazole has been administered in a long-term, moderate to high-dose course, for treatment of complicated bacterial ailments on the lines of SIBO. Many neurologists have reported cases of dogs suffering from these symptoms being unable to revert to their normal state. Moreover cases where extreme neurological side-effects of metronidazole for dogs were detected, permanent brain damage could also not be ruled out. It has been found that a dog’s tendency to have have these severe neurological effects worsens if he is stressed.
Prior to giving your dog metronidazole, ensure that the veterinarian is aware of the other drugs and medications your dog is ingesting. Those with an impaired liver function, puppies and expectant mothers should not be given metronidazole. There is also a possibility that dogs suffering from tick-related diseases may be more susceptible to metronidazole toxicity. Thus metronidazole for dogs is considered safe only when these pre-conditions have been ruled out.
You must note that in case you pet pooch is afflicted with such toxicity or side-effects, you cannot help him at home. Medical intervention is a must.