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Is Cephalexin Safe For Dogs?


cephalexin 500mg and dogsThe internet is rife with conflicting opinions as to the safety of Cephalexin use in dogs. Some websites have branded the drug dangerous to pets because of the potential side effects. So is this common antibiotic safe for your dog? The answer is: Maybe yes, maybe no.

Cephalexin is not a veterinary developed drug, so it is widely available on the human market. It is typically prescribed in 250 mg or 500 mg capsules. It is also available in a 250 mg tablet that can potentially be split into halves or fourths for smaller children or pets. These pills are not scored and have a thick outer coating so cutting the pills into smaller doses does not guarantee even distribution of the drug throughout the pieces.

The therapeutic uses of Cephalexin in dogs are similar to those in humans. Urinary tract infections and wounds/ infections of the skin top the list. Dogs can develop skin infections from severe itching due to allergies, fleas, and mange. Minor skin abrasions that occur from bite wounds, accidents or minor surgeries also respond well to treatment with Cephalexin.

If your pet is suffering with one of these conditions you should not assume that you can safely medicate your dog with Cephalexin. Using left over antibiotic you may have in your medicine cabinet should be avoided. You should never give your dog any medication without consulting your veterinarian first for several reasons.

First and foremost, your dog may not need the drug at all. Frequent urination and blood in the urine are primarily attributed to a UTI, but they could also result when a female dog is in heat. Medicating these symptoms with Cephalexin could even mask potentially serious problems like certain Cancers. If the frequent urination is hormonal or behavioral, you could be giving your dog antibiotics unnecessarily, leading to a tolerance to the drug down the road when your pet actually needs it.

When you consult your veterinarian, he/she will determine which antibiotic is best tailored to your pet’s diagnosis and medical history. Dogs that have sensitivities to certain drugs, or a tendency to develop vomiting and diarrhea with medications, may not be the best candidates for Cephalexin. Even if your vet decides to use Cephalexin in sensitive patients, they can prescribe a second medication to help protect their digestive systems from the potentially harsh drug.

Veterinarians have several different pharmaceutical strategies they can use based on your pet’s condition and history. For example, a serious urinary tract infection may warrant the maximum therapeutic dosage of drug three times a day. On the other hand, a dog with a history of sensitive stomach may recover better from a minor wart removal on a conservative, once a day dosage. Only a licensed veterinarian is qualified to make these sensitive dose adjustments.

Although Cephalexin is widely used in veterinary medicine, there is no guarantee that your dog will respond favorably to it. As with any drug, there could be potentially serious allergic reactions. Allow your veterinarian to do what they do best and determine if Cephalexin is safe, necessary and the right choice for your dog!

Resources: dogs.thefuntimesguide.com, drugs.com and nih.gov

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Dina Fantegrossi
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