Metronidazole for Dogs

Metronidazole for dogs is a type of medication that’s used to treat bacterial and certain protozoal infections in pets. Although the drug hasn’t been approved by the FDA for use in pets, it successfully cures anaerobic bacterial infections that give rise to different types of ailments in dogs. Apart from killing protozoal infections, metronidazole also has anti-inflammatory properties. Since it is a prescribed medication, it has to be used according to vet instructions.

How Metronidazole Works

Metronidazole is available in tablet form. Once the medication is ingested, it is absorbed from the intestines and is broken down by the liver. The medication is also absorbed by the bones and it’s thus ideal for tooth infections or periodontal diseases. Metronidazole is prescribed as course for a few days or weeks. The dosage varies according to the pet’s age, weight and severity of infection. As a general guideline, dogs are administered 3mg to 23mg of metronidazole per pound of body weight. The medication is usually administered 3 to 4 times a day over a certain number of days. Metronidazole doesn’t have many drug interactions. Since the medication is used to treat anaerobic infections, pets suffering from mixed infections may be prescribed metronidazole along with other antibiotic drugs, particularly penicillin based antibiotics. Due to its nature, the drug is used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions.

Conditions Treated with Metronidazole

  • Giardia
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Diarrhea caused by intestinal worms
  • Dental diseases
  • Entamoeba
  • Balantidium
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Liver disease

Precautions When Using Metronidazole

Although metronidazole is safe for use with other antibiotics, pet owners have to exert caution when administering the drug. Since every pet responds differently to medication, it’s important to monitor the dog and seek medical help if the pet develops any adverse side effects. Some pets may develop adverse reactions such as:

  • seizures
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • oral sores
  • imbalance
  • dry mouth

Others may also develop a bitter after-taste in the mouth. If the pet develops any of these side effects, it’s best to discontinue the medication and seek medical help. Metronidazole isn’t ideal for use in pets that have known sensitivity to the drug or dogs that are pregnant or lactating. Although some symptoms are more common and subside after the medication has been discontinued, you should seek prompt medical help if the dog shows signs of bloody diarrhea because it may be signs of an underlying infection. Also make sure you read and follow all instructions listed on the package, before administering a dose.  

Metronidazole has to be kept away from moisture. It should be kept out of reach of children and pets and should be disposed off in an appropriate manner. Since overdose increases the severity of side effects, pet owners should seek emergency medical care if the dog shows signs of seizures or imbalance. It takes nearly 2 weeks for these symptoms of neurological disorders to subside, after the medication is discontinued.