Antiobiotics For Cats | Can You Give Them To Kitty, Are They Good, What Are Their Side Effects?

In our everyday lives we’re exposed to countless types of bacteria, diseases, bugs and harmful atmospheric conditions. The same goes for our beloved feline furballs.

Kitties of all breeds can contract severe diseases like heartworms from something as common as a mosquito bite. And even the healthiest furball out there can develop an allergy towards something as simple as cigarette smoke. And when it comes to serious conditions like allergies or deadly diseases, one of our instincts is to opt for antibiotics – whether for humans or for animals.

Yes, antibiotics for cats do exist.

They have been around for quite a while and there’s a vast variety of different types of antibiotics for cats.

That, however, doesn’t mean that they can miraculously solve your fluffy pal’s health problem. In fact, antibiotics can even harm your pet, regardless of its breed or age. Of course, in some cases these medications can also save your kitty’s life. We’ll cover the basics of everything you need to know for antibiotics manufactured for feline consumption below.

What Are Antibiotics For Cats And Kittens?

Antibiotics for cats are strong medications for battling bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. They are available worldwide in various forms and under different names depending on the manufacturers.

They can be purchased as tablets (pills), liquids and ointments or as injectable solutions.

Antibiotics are used in veterinary medicine for treatment of cats, dogs and other domestic animals alike. However, this doesn’t mean that their widespread availability makes them magical cures.

These drugs are stronger than pain-reliefs and typical over-the-counter cat medications. As such, pet parents need to consult with a reputable vet prior to getting any antibiotics for their felines.

The antibiotic treatments for cats work in the same way as the ones manufactured for human consumption. They can either be administered in order to kill off the harmful bacteria in the body or just to stop the growth and reproduction of microorganisms.

However, despite their efficiency, antibiotics shouldn’t be taken lightly. First of all, your cat can’t benefit from one ultimate type of antibiotic because no such drug exists. The different types of antibiotic medications treat different types of health problems and mixing them up can have fatal consequences. Furthermore, even if you’re using the correct drug, it can still pose a threat to your furball. And lastly, most of these medications don’t come cheap.

Treatment Uses of Antibiotics For Cats

As mentioned above, these drugs can save your pet’s life. Health issues like feline herpes, urinary tract diseases, heartworms, ringworms, eye infections and so forth pose serious danger to your kitty’s longevity. Antibiotic treatments can improve your pet’s health by battling:

  • Skin infections
  • Bordetella
  • Allergies
  • Bite wound abscess
  • Eye, ear, sinus, oral and wound infections
  • Intestinal tract infections
  • Coccidiosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Blood and bone infections
  • Respiratory issues

The aforementioned as well as some other less common issues are usually the reasons for vets to prescribe antibiotics for cats.

Apart from preventing further spread and growth of the harmful microorganisms in your kitty’s body, the drugs can also kill off the existing bacteria. These two properties make antibiotics extremely efficient against numerous life-threatening health complications. If you’re following the instructions of a reputable vet properly, the medication will help. This means not skipping treatments, not messing up the dosages or feeding schedules, not neglecting the wounded spot’s hygiene, and so forth.

Due to the fact that antibiotics are much stronger than standard medications, they are notably more efficient when battling internal and external health problems.

Faster response time, stronger anti-bacterial properties and efficiency against parasitic, fungal and bacterial infections are the main pros to consider when opting for antibiotics instead of milder and more traditional drugs for your feline friend.

Why Are Antibiotics For Cats Controversial? Are They Safe Or Bad?

Regardless of their advantageous side, these medications must not be taken lightly. Using them for human or animal consumption has been the topic of worldwide controversy for many years and for a great number of reasons. Here are the downsides of administering these drugs to your kitty.

They DON’T improve the immune system

When a cat’s own immune system can’t fight off the health problem, antibiotic treatments kick in. However, the truth is that they don’t give your pet’s organism a boost. They aren’t supplements, and as such, they don’t supply the kitty with disease-fighting antibodies. In fact, antibiotics don’t strengthen the organism at all. They just fight off the harmful bacteria without actually aiding your furball’s immune system.

They CAN hurt your pet

As it is with other drugs, these types of medication also have unpleasant side effects. Moreover, they can easily kill off the so-called good bacteria in the cat’s body. Some of the most common side effects of using antibiotics for cats include:

  • Rashes
  • Swelling
  • Breathlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Secondary infections
  • Liver, kidney, eye, ear, bone marrow damage
  • Diarrhea
  • Toxicity
  • Abnormal development of kittens when used during pregnancy
  • Possible infection on the injected spot when used in the form of injections

Needless to say, all of these things are just as dangerous as the bacterial infection, which requires antibiotic treatment. And these side effects can’t be neglected just because of the drugs’ advantageous properties.

They CAN cause underdevelopment

Newborn kittens may suffer abnormal development during the various growth stages if their mother has received antibiotics during her pregnancy.

Older cats can also suffer underdevelopment if antibiotics are administered too soon. If the cat’s immune system doesn’t get the chance to battle the disease on its own prior to an antibiotic treatment, it may not reach its full potential. Thus, the kitty will also become more vulnerable to other diseases in the future.

They DON’T always work

Despite their strong anti-bacterial properties, antibiotic treatments don’t work all the time. It depends on the kitty’s organism, as well as on some other factors.

If you’re skipping or doubling dosages, using the incorrect type of antibiotic, not maintaining the hygiene in your home and on the kitty’s wound, the drugs won’t help you. Moreover, some antibiotics require feeding prior to or after administering them. If you’re not following the feeding instructions properly, that could also mess up the treatment. And lastly, it’s also possible in some rare cases for the drugs to encounter resistant bacteria, which they can’t cope with.

They CAN increase the numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

One of the worst risks of using antibiotics is the fact that they can create and increase the levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This usually happens when you stop giving your pet the medication before the end of the treatment plan’s duration.

Not only will not the medications be able to attack the microorganisms, but the bacteria will be able to grow immune to the drugs. As a result, this may put your pet’s life in danger at a later point in time.

Do You Need Over-The-Counter Or Other Antibiotics For Cats?

That’s for a veterinarian to decide. Even though you will be able to get over-the-counter antibiotics without a prescription at some places, you can’t treat these drugs as any other form of cat medication because they’re stronger and pose more health risks.

Don’t ever self-diagnose your cat and decide whether it needs antibiotics on your own!

It’s possible even for a professional to misdiagnose your furball and to wrongfully prescribe drugs when there’s an undiagnosed underlying issue that requires treatment. It’s of intrinsic importance to consult with a reputable vet prior to buying any antibiotics. Feline healthcare isn’t cheap, but messing up your kitty’s health with the wrong type of medication will make future treatments only more expensive.

If your doctor is trustworthy and he/ she believes your feline pal needs medications, then the doctor will give you a special prescription for them. He/ she will also advice you on the correct dosage, treatment length and any additional rules that you must follow.

Where To Get Antibiotics, And What Are The Common Ones?

One of the options when purchasing antibiotics for cats is a vet clinic. You can also search for local pharmacies, which sell pet medications and pet supplies. And in some cases you can also buy antibiotics online from sites like Amazon. Keep in mind that not every type of antibiotic will be available if you choose the latter option.

Some common antibiotic pills, injections and ointments include:

  • Amoxillicin/ Clavamox
  • Baytril
  • Cephalexin/ Keflex
  • Clindamycin
  • Flagyl/ Metronidazole
  • Fulvicin
  • Nizoral/ Ketoconazole
  • Orbax/ Orbifloxacin

Many pet parents actually opt for Neosporin for their cats as a topical antibiotic solution to fight off external bacterial infections. And that brings us to another crucial point:

Never give your cat antibiotics manufactured for human consumption!

Even if your feline friend doesn’t experience any visible side effects, that doesn’t make antibiotics for humans safe for cats. The feline organism differs in many ways from the human organism. What you might consider a tiny amount can actually be a lethal dosage for a cat! Best case scenario, the medication manufactured for people won’t cure the kitty. Worst case scenario – using the drug will lead to a fatal outcome.

Always consult with a vet regarding your fluffy friend’s well-being and don’t skip any appointments. If necessary, get a second professional opinion before purchasing antibiotics and don’t forget to keep your doctor up to date with your furball’s condition and behavior throughout the entire treatment’s duration.

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Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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