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Some antibiotics have side effects but your vet can outline these to you.  Your vet has to judge the benefits of the antibiotic against any possible side effects.

Most of these are minor, such as an upset tummy, but prolonged use can result in antibiotic resistance.  Tell your vet as well if your pet might be pregnant as some antibiotics can affect a pet’s babies.  Some antibiotics can affect the kidneys, so again always tell your vet if your pet is showing any signs of this, such as excess drinking.

It’s always best to write down all of the symptoms that an ill pet has and take this with you when you take your pet to see your vet.  It’s easy to forget all of the illness signs and as we say ‘pets can’t talk’.  Vets rely a lot on what an owner tells them as well as the clinical signs.

Your vet will prescribe antibiotics at a specific dose and for a specific time.  Some diseases are easy to treat with a short course of one antibiotic but some may need a much longer course.

With longer courses of antibiotics, your vet will again have to balance out the benefits against the possible side effects.  However, some diseases will need longer courses of antibiotics and your vet will discuss with you any possible side-effects.  For example, long-term antibiotics may affect a pet’s helpful bacteria in the intestines but your vet will be able to advise you about this.

Author – Elaine Pendlebury BA BSc  BVetMed DMS MRCVS  Senior Veterinary Surgeon (Science & Welfare) PDSA

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