Common Side Effects of Canine Antibiotics

Canine antibiotics are used for multiple infections - usually caused by bacteria - but may easily cause secondary infections and have side effects. A cure with antibiotics is often followed by a cure for other secondary infections and conditions.

A dog that is under treatment with antibiotics should be kept under close surveillance to ensure that he doesn't develop severe complications. Your vet should periodically reassess whether the prescribed antibiotics are effective.

Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are common side effects of antibiotics. The antibiotics kill the friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract of the dog, and result in the overgrowth of harmful bacteria which cause the yeast infection. The normal balance in the intestinal tract should be 80% good bacteria and 20% bad bacteria. The antibiotics ruin this balance.

A yeast infection is a very unpleasant condition accompanied by itchiness, rashes and eczemas, lesions on skin, diarrhea or food allergies.

Drug Resistance

Taking too many antibiotics throughout a longer period of time may cause drug resistance in dogs. The bacteria can become immune to the components in the antibiotics, and will not respond to the medication. This is bad news, because these antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be transmitted to other dogs, and alternative remedies will be needed.

Other Side Effects of Dog Antibiotics

Antibiotics are beneficial in many ways, but may create numerous new conditions such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Fever
  • High white blood cell count
  • Dehydration
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Blood in urine, or discolored urine
  • Hair loss
  • Rashes
  • Bad breath

Antibiotics may also cause potassium deficiencies and inhibit the availability of multiple vitamins, such as vitamins A and B, magnesium, zinc and folic acid.

Antibiotics will weaken the immune system.

Commonly Used Antibiotics

The most commonly used antibiotics belong to the penicillin group. Vets often prescribe amoxicillin, ampicillin, penicillin V, oxacillin or ticarcillin. These may cause allergies, fever and rashes.

Other drugs prescribed by the vet may be:

  • Aminoglycosieds - With side effects such as kidney and nerve damage or facial swelling
  • Cephalosporins - Such as Cefacroxil or Naxcel, causing allergy and diarrhea
  • Tetracyclines - Causing liver or kidney disease, hair loss and sensitivity to light
  • Sulfa drugs - Such as Trimethoprim Sulfa. May cause nausea diarrhea, anemia or Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Remedies for Antibiotic Side Effects

If your dog suffers form a yeast infection following a cure with antibiotics, you can help rebuild the friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract by adding nutritional supplements to your dog food. Raw foods are also recommended. The vet will prescribe antifungal medication and creams. A yeast infection is difficult to cure and the treatment may be lengthy.

You can also opt for homeopathic or herbal remedies to replace the antibiotics. Natural products may be effective in fighting your pet's infection and have no side effects whatsoever. These remedies also help the immune system, strengthening your dog's resistance to other diseases.