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Most dogs will be prescribed antibiotics at some stage in their lives. These drugs work by killing bacteria that are causing infection.
Bacterial infections can occur in any part of the body, but they are most common in the skin, the respiratory tract, the urinary tract and the gastrointestinal tract. Antibiotics can not only make your dog feel better, but in some circumstances, they may save their life.
Not all illnesses warrant antibiotic treatment. Many diseases in dogs are caused by viruses, and these little organisms can’t be killed by antibiotic tablets or injections. This is often the case if your dog has a cough, or a bout of vomiting and diarrhea. In these cases, antibiotics won’t benefit your dog at all, and using them may lead to bacteria developing resistance to these drugs. You will also waste money on medication your dog doesn’t need. Don’t feel disgruntled if your veterinarian doesn’t send you home with a course of tablets for your dog.
If you do have to give your dog a course of antibiotics, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Firstly, use as prescribed. Give your dog the right number of tablets at each dose. Too much may make them ill, and too little won’t kill the bacteria that is causing the infection. Also, keep the medication in the refrigerator if that is indicated on the box.
Secondly, finish the entire course of tablets, even if your dog is back to his normal healthy happy self. Stopping treatment early may allow the infection to return, and can allow bacteria to adapt and become able to resist the drugs. This will make it harder to kill them in future.
In Summary – Antibiotics are a very important part of treating illness in dogs. Use them only when necessary, and use them properly, and you will give your dog the best chance of making a fast recovery.
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