Using Flagyl for Dogs to Treat Lyme Disease

Flagyl for dogs is an antibiotic that is commonly prescribed to treat Lyme disease. Flagyl is most effective when administered shortly after the dog is infected.

Lyme Disease Explained

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia that is carried by ticks. Ticks carrying the bacteria are usually the Deer Tick, or Black-Legged Tick, although other ticks can carry bacteria. Lyme disease causes lymph node inflammation, resulting in limping and a high temperature. It can also effect the nervous system, kidneys and heart.

Some dogs will not show symptoms of infection up to a year after infestation. Others, such as the Brittany Spaniel, will show symptoms within hours of infection. Treatment is most effective when the disease is caught quickly. If the disease becomes widely dispersed throughout the body, it may cause permanent joint or nerve damage.

Lyme disease is sometimes misdiagnosed when an autoimmune disease or lymph tissue cancer is really causing the symptoms. The opposite can occur as well. However, most vets will immediately treat the symptoms if Lyme disease is suspected.

Flagyl for Dogs

Flagyl (metronidazole) is an powerful antibiotic that is effective in treating early infections and parasitic infestations. This oral antibiotic penetrates into the bacteria and releases free radicals that disrupt the cell structure and ultimately destroy the bacteria. Flagyl is most effective when administered for more than two months. Shorter treatment will not provide instant results. During that time, the dog may develop other symptoms such as fatigue and intense skin irritation. Thus, many vets prescribe tetracycline or amoxicillin if a rash is present.

It is important to carry out the entire treatment period diligently. Stopping before the prescribed period may result in a flare up of symptoms or reoccurrence. Keeping the level of antibiotics habitually elevated will help the antibody perform best. Also inform your vet of any other treatment your dog is currently taking, as the metronidazole could interfere with other medication, especially any blood thinners.

Side Effects

Although flagyl is an effective treatment, it may cause vomiting, seizures, appetite loss and lethargy. Dogs with liver disease history are especially susceptible to flagyl toxicity, which will disturb the brain and equilibrium. Flagyl may also cause liver damage, as the liver is metronidazole's primary metabolizing site.

Flagyl has been used by many pet owners to treat Lyme disease. Although it is a powerful antibody, it is most effective when administered shortly after infection. Check with your vet to make sure that the symptoms you are noticing are caused by Lyme disease, and begin treatment as soon as possible.