Your vet may prescribe your pet antibiotics, much like your doctor may prescribe them for you. It is super important that you not only stick to your vet’s recommendations, but also that you follow their instructions to use them safely, efficiently and responsibly. If they are not used correctly, then it could cause your beloved pet more harm than good.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of antibiotics, and getting your pet back to health:
- FINISH THE COURSE. Even if your pet appears back to normal before the course of antibiotics is complete, it is crucial that you finish the course of medication as instructed by the vet. Not doing so could result in remaining resistant bacteria creating an even more serious infection.
- STICK TO THE CORRECT DOSAGE. As with all medication, antibiotics should be taken exactly as prescribed by the veterinary professional. Whilst upping the daily dosage may sound like a good idea to get your pet better quicker, sticking to the correct timeframe is important as an overdose can have side effects and even sometimes make the antibiotic less effective.
- KEEP TO THE INSTRUCTIONS. Your vet may give you further instructions with your prescription. Some antibiotics should be taken with food, some without. Some may need to be taken at specific times of the day, and some may need to be taken at various intervals ((such as every 12-hours) twice a day. Make sure that you stick to a routine with these instructions to help give your pet the best chance of fighting the infection.
- YOU MAY HAVE TO TRY DIFFERENT ANTIBIOTICS. Each case is unique, and sometimes the course of antibiotics initially described may not quite be quite right. This does not necessarily mean that something stronger must be found, but that a new type of antibiotic may be best. Your vet can help identify the right antibiotic by a series of sensitivity tests or by assessing your pet’s response to treatment.
- EVERY ANIMAL IS DIFFERENT. Just as every case is unique, so is every animal. Some antibiotics may work for one of your pets, but not the other. There are various reasons for this, so never give antibiotics to a different animal in your family, even if it is suspected they have the same health concern. They should be given only to the pet which they were prescribed.
- ANTIBIOTICS AREN’T ALWAYS THE ANSWER. Over-prescribing of antibiotics is a real problem in humans and animals – creating new strains of resistant bacteria and new illnesses. If your vet does not recommend antibiotics, trust them. Infections and illnesses caused by viruses and fungi are not treatable by antibiotics, antibiotics only effective against bacterial infections.
- KEEP UP YOUR APPOINTMENTS. If your vet asks you to come back for a recheck appointment, make sure you go. Your vet will want to make sure that the infection has fully cleared or prescribe a longer or different course if needed.
Remember these tips to correctly taking antibiotics and your pet will hopefully be back to themselves in no time! If you are ever unsure about how to administer or what dose is needed, always ask your vet for support and you can work out a plan that fits within your life and the needs of your pet.