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Bacterial infections in dogs
Bacteria is a natural part of the organism blend living inside dogs and on their skin, just like bacteria live inside humans and on our skin. Bacteria can be highly useful and for instance help us with digestion, but bacteria can also cause a wide range of disease in dogs and people alike. In some situations, even normally harmless bacteria can cause serious health problems in dogs, e.g. when an antibiotics treatment kills off the normal bacterial flora in the body of a dog, thereby allowing antibiotic resistant bacteria to grow without any competition. A few examples of dog diseases caused by bacteria are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, Ehrlichiosis and Clostridium.
What are bacteria?
Bacteria (the singular form is bacterium) are unicellular micro-organism that come in many different shapes, including spirals, spheres and rods. Bacteria are normally a few micrometers long; much bigger than viruses. Bacteria is found all over the world, even in the most adverse environments such as acidic hot springs and regions contaminated by radioactive waste.
Bacteria and antibiotics for dogs
Bacterial infections in dogs can often be successfully combated with the help of antibiotics, but it is important to contact a veterinarian to obtain a proper diagnosis and get the right type of antibiotics. Certain antibiotics are more suitable than others for certain diseases, and the choice of antibiotics will also be determined by the overall health status of your dog. A pregnant bitch must for instance avoid certain types of antibiotics, while adult dogs might be suitable candidates for certain types of antibiotics that are not given to young dogs due to the risk of problems 5 or 10 years down the road. The dosage must also be adjusted in accordance to weight and age of your dog.
What are antibiotics?
Antibiotics are chemical compounds capable of abolishing or at least inhibiting the growth of micro-organisms. Originally, the term antibiotics was used for all agents with biological activity against living organisms, but today the term is normally reserved for substances used to control the growth of bacteria, fungi and/or parasites.
The first known antibiotics used by doctors and veterinarians were all isolated from living organisms, including the famous penicillins which are produced by fungi. Before antibiotics were discovered, bacterial disease was often treated with various chemical compounds that also damaged the patient, such as arsenic and strychnine. The new antibiotics were much better at targeting malicious microbes and produced less severe side effects.
Side effects in dogs
When your dog receives antibiotic treatment, you should keep an eye on possible side-effects. The exact side effects will depend on a wide range of factors, including how the antibiotics are administered, which antibiotics that are used, the dosage, and the overall health status of your dog. Common antibiotics side effects experienced by dogs are nausea, diarrhea, fever, and allergic reactions. Antibiotics can also interact with other drugs and supplements and it is important to tell the vet about any drugs and supplements, including natural remedies, that you give your dog.
West Highland White Terrier