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Dogs, cats and horses
May Be Prescribed by Vets for:
Anaerobic bacterial- infections, protozoal infections, non-specific inflammatory conditions of the bowel.
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Metronidazole is an antibiotic that is used commonly to treat protozoal infections and anaerobic bacterial infections. It also has anti-inflammatory effects in the bowel. Metronidazole is bactericidal; it kills bacterial microorganisms by disrupting their DNA. It is absorbed rapidly from the GI tract, metabolized by the liver and excreted in the urine and the feces. Because metronidazole only has activity against anaerobic bacteria, it is used commonly with other antibiotics when it is used to treat mixed-bacterial infections. It is compatible with many other antibiotics including penicillin antibiotics, aminoglycosides, and some cephalosporins.
Metronidazole is used to treat protozoal infections in dogs and cats including Giardia, Entamoeba, Trichomonas, and Balantidium. It also is used to treat anaerobic bacterial infections. Metronidazole has immune-modulating activity and may be prescribed to treat inflammatory bowel disease. It may be used to treat colitis caused by other antibiotics, periodontal disease (especially in cats), Clostridium perfringens enterotoxemia, tetanus, diarrhea of undetermined cause, pancreatic insufficiency (with small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth), and complications of severe liver disease. Metronidazole may be used with corticosteroids to treat inflammatory bowel disease or gum disease (gingivitis/stomatitis) in cats. Topical metronidazole gel is used to treat skin infections, such as feline chin acne.
Metronidazole usually is tolerated better if given with food. There is a wide variety of flavors and preparations made by compounding pharmacies to deal with the problems associated with the bitter taste. Because of the variety of uses for this drug, dose amount, frequency, and duration of treatment vary widely.
Metronidazole is used primarily with other antibiotics to treat mixed bacterial infections in which anaerobic bacteria are present, for example, pleuropneumonia, peritonitis, and abdominal abscesses. It also is used prophylactically after colic or other abdominal surgery when mixed bacterial infections are a risk. Metronidazole generally is given orally although it also is absorbed rectally. Rectal administration is used occasionally in the very sick patient when anorexia and weight loss are a problem.
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
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