When we think of antibiotics, many people don’t realize the same antibiotics used in our own bodies can also be used in our dogs and cats for the same reasons. Bacteria does not have a bias for one living species over another. It affects every life form on Earth, including even plants. Each body, or living force for that matter, react differently to bacteria. Sometimes it’s a good reaction, and sometimes not so much.
It’s important to note that humans, dogs, and cats have healthy bacteria that are needed in their body for digestion and systems to function properly. Unfortunately, there are also bacteria that can do severe damage to those same systems, disrupting a very delicate balance of physiological functioning. Therefore, a probiotic may be worthwhile while taking antibiotics.
Penicillin was the very first antibiotic offered for bacterial infections; however, it never lasted long because it was viciously broken down by stomach acids before its full potency reached the liver in order to spread through the rest of the body. Amoxicillin is a penicillin-class antibiotic that performs a lot better with stomach acids, killing both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Amoxicillin works by preventing the continued growth of bacteria in areas like the urinary tract, open wounds, the mouth, sinus areas, and the respiratory tract. These are areas that are warm and moist, the perfect living environment for bacteria. It’s used in dogs for the same strain of bacterial infections that occur in humans including E. coli, Streptococci, some Staphylococci, Proteus, and Enterococci species.
Side Effects of Amoxicillin Use in Dogs
Unfortunately, dogs cannot tell us when they are experiencing adverse affects of a medication; however, side effects are still noticeable by attentive caregivers and vets. These include:
- Allergic reaction like hives and difficulty breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Loss of appetite
Additionally, dogs who take the following medications for other conditions should not take amoxicillin:
- Bacteriostatics (medications that inhibit bacterial growth)
Amoxicillin, while good for dogs and cats, should never be used in rabbits, rodents, or guinea pigs.
Amoxicillin Dosing in Dogs
There are more available forms of this medication for dogs than there are for humans. It is generally supplied in tablet form that can be given with a treat like peanut butter or cheese. The dosages include 50 mg, 100 mg, 125 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, 250 mg, 400 mg, 500 mg, and 875 mg. This medication can also be supplied in liquid suspension form. The liquid should be stored in the refrigerator, effective for 14 days. Tablets can be stored at room temperature. Even if the infection seems to clear before the end of the prescription cycle, it’s important to finish the entire dose. It may be prudent to provide your dog with ½ to 1 cup of plain yogurt or powdered acidophilus with one meal each day to protect healthy gut bacteria.