Are Canine and Feline Antibiotics the Same?

Feline antibiotics are drugs prescribed for a specific duration of time. They fight susceptible strains of bacteria that cause infections in pets. Although most cats respond favorably to antibiotic therapy, the drugs may not benefit pets suffering from viral infections such as panleukopenia and feline herpes virus. Since antibiotics cause certain side effects, pet owners shouldn't administer antibiotic medication unless prescribed by the vet. In addition, the medication should be administered according to vet instructions as overdose is dangerous.

Are Canine and Feline Antibiotics the Same?

Although most commercial medicines are labeled for use in both dogs and cats, the dosage used to treat cats and dogs varies. Products labeled exclusively for use in dogs shouldn't be administered to cats, as the ingredients present may be toxic to felines. It's also important to remember that the dosage and administration vary for use in individual pets belonging to the same species. Since antibiotic drugs require a prescription, it's advisable to use the drug for the purpose intended. A growing concern associated with antibiotic medication is wrongful administration of medication that leads to drug resistant bacteria. If pets develop resistance to antibiotic medication, the disease progresses unless aggressive treatment procedures are followed.

Use of Antibiotics

Antibiotics are generally prescribed only after definite diagnosis is obtained. Diagnosis is confirmed through laboratory tests, culture tests and urine analysis. Culture tests are highly useful as they detect the presence of certain strains of bacteria to help the vet establish treatment options and the use of appropriate antibiotics. Cats in particular suffer from urinary tract disorders and skin conditions that require antibiotic medication. If pets are frequently administered antibiotics to treat chronic conditions, culture and susceptibility tests are necessary.

Commonly Prescribed Antibiotic Drugs Include:

  • Cephalexin
  • Tetracycline
  • Amoxicillin
  • Lincocin
  • Metronidazole

Usage and Administration

Most antibiotics are used to treat various conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, periodontal disease and urinary tract disorders. The medicines are prescribed according to pet weight and shouldn't be given to pets that have known sensitivity to the ingredients. If pets exhibit symptoms that include rash, difficulty breathing, bloody stools or persistent vomiting, prompt medical attention is necessary. Pet owners should discard left over antibiotic medication and avoid re-use without prior vet approval. Antibiotics may not be useful for dogs or cats taking other prescription drugs, or pets suffering from certain underlying health concerns.

Reaction to Antibiotics for Pets

Pets may suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness and related side effects. If these adverse reactions occur, it's best to confirm with the vet whether the medication should be continued. Since overdose is dangerous and often fatal, pets should be given emergency medical treatment for it. Antibiotic drugs cause various drug interactions. It's thus important to avoid the use of over the counter medicines and herbal formulas during administration of antibiotics. Follow up vet checks may be necessary to determine initial response to medication or disease progression.

Antibiotic medicines belong to different classes of drugs such as penicillins, cephalosporins and tetracyclines. PCR tests and DNA analysis of bacteria reveal the class of antibiotic drugs that work effectively to kill susceptible strains. Pet owners should work with the vet to determine the cause of underlying illnesses and take measures to prevent re-infection.