In this article, you will know the answer to the query “My Dog Still Has Diarrhea After Metronidazole“.
The condition of diarrhea in your dog is a distressing experience for both the animal, which is kept awake at night by frequent bathroom trips, as well as you, who have to be on call for those bathroom trips and clean up after an accident.
The vet told you that metronidazole will cure the problem, at least that’s what he said.
Unfortunately, many pet parents find that their dog is as miserable as ever after taking antibiotics.
What can be done?
We need to first examine this drug in more detail and see whether it is indeed effective in treating all types of diarrhea.
It’s an antibiotic, after all, and these types of drugs often cause diarrhea. The following article will discuss what metronidazole is, its side effects, as well as other diarrhea remedies that you may want to try for your pet.
What is Metronidazole?
In humans and pets alike, metronidazole has been around since the 1950s and is widely used to treat a wide range of infections.
The most important use of metronidazole is to treat anaerobic bacteria, meaning bacteria which don’t require oxygen for survival.
On the other hand, metronidazole has been used as an antiprotozoal, killing parasites such as Giardia.
Upon receiving metronidazole from the vet, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how fast your pet gets better.
Within 24 hours, many pet parents reported their dog’s stools were solid, well-formed, and normal.
As soon as you stop giving the drug to the dog, the dog’s watery stools begin again.
The reason for this may be that veterinarians tend to overprescribe this type of medicine, treating diarrhea of all types, not just those caused by the bacteria metronidazole targets.
So, metronidazole only alleviates the symptoms, without treating the underlying cause of the dog’s problem, which is why diarrhea returns once the antibiotic is stopped.
What is Metronidazole Used For?
The fact that you’re reading this article indicates that your pet is suffering from diarrhea.
Clostridium difficile is the most common cause of diarrhea in humans and animals.
The antibiotic metronidazole is extremely effective against bacteria in the Clostridioides family. By going into the bacteria and killing it instead of slowing its growth, it works.
The antibiotic is also used for treating gastritis caused by Helicobacter bacteria. Gallbladder and bile duct infections are treated with this medicine.
Infections of the tooth and jaw can also be treated with metronidazole since it can penetrate bone structures.
How Long Does Metronidazole Take to Work in Dogs?
It can take as little as one to two hours to see some improvement, according to experts.
It is not that the dog would be perfectly fine in such a short period of time, but the frequency of those dreadfully annoying bathroom trips could be reduced.
It is expected that the consistency of the dog’s stools will improve gradually. As a result, it will take at least a couple of days before the dog feels better.
To treat diarrhea, veterinarians usually prescribe a five to ten day course of antibiotics. The veterinarian may prescribe 14 days of metronidazole if the situation is really severe.
How is Metronidazole Administered to Dogs?
Various forms of metronidazole are available, including pills and liquid suspensions.
Usually, doctors recommend a dosage of 5-7 mg per pound every 12 hours for diarrhea.
In cases of giardia, the dosage might be increased to 7-11 mg per pound of body weight, but only once a day.
The following are just general recommendations.
It is important to always follow the doctor’s orders since they consider other factors such as the dog’s age and general health condition.
You’ll usually need to give the dog metronidazole in pill form, and this can be challenging since the medicine is extremely bitter.
Don’t crush the pills since this will make it more difficult for the dog to accept his medicine.
Your dog is likely to be unable to resist a treat in which the pill is hidden.
My Dog Still Has Diarrhea After Metronidazole?
The antibiotic metronidazole is very effective against various types of bacteria, which may be causing your pet’s continuing health problems.
In addition to killing the bad bacteria, the antibiotic is too effective. Metronidazole wipes out good bacteria in the dog’s gut, such as Fusobacteria, which contributes to digestion, when it fights bacteria like C. Difficile.
In one study, a 14-day course of metronidazole greatly reduced the types of bacteria in a dog’s microbiome, or the total number of microorganisms living inside his intestines.
A study found that certain bacteria had been virtually eliminated by the antibiotic, while those that remained were very small in number.
The microbiome of the dog will need time to get back to normal.
Study results revealed that the dog’s microbiome was horribly unbalanced even after four weeks.
You cannot expect his digestion to be back to normal at this point.
During the duration of the metronidazole treatment, dogs can be given probiotics to help mitigate the devastating effects on the animal’s microbiome.
This is why people take probiotics when they are on antibiotics, and it can also help dogs preserve the good bacteria in their guts.
Is Metronidazole Effective Against Giardia?
In addition to being an antiprotozoal, metronidazole has been used for decades to treat dogs infested with the parasite giardia.
In most cases, contaminated water transmits the microscopic parasite Giardia duodenalis to dogs.
As soon as this unicellular parasite latches onto the intestinal walls, it causes an acute episode of foul-smelling, blood-tinged diarrhea.
This tiny parasite has developed resistance to metronidazole, according to recent studies.
The antibiotic alone might not be enough to eradicate the parasite completely if your vet recommends it.
Because of this, the parasite will still remain after a week of metronidazole and, at the same time, the dog’s intestinal biome has been destroyed.
After taking his meds off, the dog is still suffering from watery stools and is feeling miserable.
In the present day, experts recommend combining metronidazole and fenbendazole for the treatment of giardia.
What are the Side Effects of Metronidazole?
Metronidazole can cause a number of unpleasant side effects, as with any medicine. Among these are:
- Muscle control loss
- Coordination problems
In addition, experts recommend not giving metronidazole to a pregnant or nursing dog.
When puppies move to their new homes, they often experience episodes of diarrhea and it is assumed that they are infected with a parasite.
Sadly, worried pet parents rush to the vet and almost always get prescribed metronidazole.
In many cases, this is a recipe for disaster because the puppy will have a hard time restoring the balance of the intestinal microbiome and will need more antibiotics.
A veterinarian also recommends caution when a dog is known to have liver problems, as the drug may worsen these conditions.
What are the Alternatives to Metronidazole?
Dogs may also be at risk for overuse of antibiotics, as doctors caution against it constantly.
There is a simple solution to the problem.
Your vet will prescribe metronidazole if your dog has diarrhea, since experience shows that it stops diarrhea and what happens next week is less important.
In order to be sure that the diarrhea is indeed caused by bacteria, it would be ideal for the vet to run a full set of tests on your dog.
A fecal matter test should be included. Running all these tests takes time and costs more money than pet owners can often afford, so it’s easier to prescribe a drug and see what happens.
Furthermore, giardia is notoriously difficult to diagnose, so a doctor might just assume it is present.
Even if your dog is not in a very bad condition, you should consider changing his diet and see if that helps.
In fact, diarrhea is usually caused by an unknown cause and can be treated by putting him on bland food for a few days.
The bland diet consists of boiled rice and unsalted chicken breast.
It is better to give the dog small meals at regular intervals rather than one large meal. You can wait until the dog becomes truly hungry so he will change his mind if he is not happy.
Pureed pumpkin can also be added, which calms bowel inflammation and adds bulk to stools.
Because diarrhea is often associated with an unbalanced microbiome, you should also address that issue.
As a prebiotic, you can use fibers such as inulin and psyllium (brand name Metamucil), which help balance the intestinal flora and improve the quality of the dog’s stools.
S boulardii is another dietary supplement you can try. It supports the growth of beneficial bacteria.
In dogs, metronidazole is one of the most common remedies for diarrhea.
If, however, Clostridium difficile is not the root cause of the problem, the antibiotic might make things worse rather than solve it.
If the dog is suffering from diarrhea of unknown origin, it is best to use a more conservative approach, such as a bland diet and prebiotics to correct any imbalances in his intestinal microbiome.
When the vet determines that metronidazole is actually necessary, ensure the dog also gets probiotics to help preserve the good bacteria, so he won’t experience diarrhea again after he finishes the antibiotic course.
If you want to read more about dog food tips, read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.