Amoxicillin for Dogs

by Phyllis Benson, Demand Media
    An ailing dog may have a bacterial infection.

    An ailing dog may have a bacterial infection.

    Just like you, your dog lives with bacteria from Day 1. Beneficial bacteria help him digest food and protect his health, but harmful bacteria can cause serious disease and health problems. Your vet may prescribe amoxicillin, an antibiotic, to knock down a bacterial infection.

    Amoxicillin Features

    Amoxicillin, an antibiotic related to penicillin, effectively weakens and kills many harmful bacteria. Because bacteria reproduce quickly in the body and release toxins harmful to your dog, antibiotics such as amoxicillin work by inhibiting bacterial cell structure so the organisms die. Manufactured by different companies under various brand names, amoxicillin is available in tablet, liquid and injection form. It has become preferable to penicillin because it is easily absorbed, kills more kinds of bacteria, and is tolerated well by the body.

    Amoxicillin Treatment

    Because amoxicillin is easily absorbed by the body and kills many kinds of bacteria, it fights infections of the skin, ears, respiratory system and urinary tract. Your vet prescribes this antibiotic for infected wounds and tooth abscesses. Depending on the type of infection, treatment is with tablets or liquid drops given at specific intervals for seven days or longer. Follow directions carefully, as the amoxicillin must be given in the right dosage at timed intervals to continue killing the bacteria. Not all bacteria die at the same time. Treatment continues even though your dog is improving so that the bacteria are completely eradicated. For a severe infection, the vet may give your dog an amoxicillin injection to jump-start the bacteria control.

    Amoxicillin Side Effects

    Although most dogs tolerate amoxicillin well, it can upset your dog’s stomach. Side effects such as diarrhea or loose stool are common. Your vet may suggest giving amoxicillin with a meal or in the middle of a meal to minimize tummy upset. Call the vet promptly if your dog develops labored breathing, heavy drooling, vomiting, seizures or other signs of an allergic reaction to the medicine. Some dogs are allergic to penicillin and may react negatively to amoxicillin or similar antibiotics. Avoid drug interactions by telling the vet about other medications your dog is taking.

    Amoxicillin Considerations

    Amoxicillin fights bacterial infections in people and in pets; however, do not give your dog any amoxicillin that is not veterinarian-prescribed. A leftover prescription for you or another pet should not be given to your dog. His antibiotic dosage is different depending on his weight, condition, type of infection and other factors. Give your dog all his medication. Do not stop even after he looks better; stopping medication too early can create resistant bacteria that cause him future problems. Amoxicillin is a powerful drug and, used properly, can save your dog’s life.

    About the Author

    Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.

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