When it comes to our cats – and the antibiotics they’re so often prescribed – we should always proceed with caution. And the correct information. Medicine can play an important and sometimes live-saving role with our kitties, but it’s important for us to not overdo it with the meds.
Does it seem like your cats get prescribed an antibiotic every time you take them to the vet? Before we found our current veterinarian, this was nearly always the case for us. For example – we once took Mr. Bittles in because he was having trouble pooping. The kind vet removed the hard culprit turd and then attempting to give us an antibiotic for him. “Does he have an infection?” I asked. “No, the antibiotics are a precautionary measure – just to be on the safe side” she said. Our cat was constipated, not sick – with a bacterial infect.
Aside from the vast amounts of side effects that often come with medications, the overuse of antibiotics is causing an epidemic of antibiotic resistance in cats. What that means is that the bacteria in the body is becoming resistant to the antibiotics… so when your cat actually needs the medicine, it no longer works.
Bacterial Culture and Sensitivity Test!
The other issue is that when a vet is guessing as to what’s wrong with our kitties – and prescribes antibiotics ‘just to be on the safe side’ – our cats’ health is what suffers. We understand that it can be very difficult to determine an issue or illness with cats – even for vets – but we get messages regularly about cats suffering with upper respiratory problems that continue to escalate, despite being on antibiotics. Most of the time this is a viral infection, which antibiotics won’t touch. Instead, these prescribed antibiotics are stripping the body of all the good and bad bacteria, which weakens the immune system’s ability to fight the issue the viral infection. This sometimes happens with fungal infections too with the same results. 🙁
Luckily, there is a test we can request so that we don’t continue to spiral down the same path of antibiotic resistance. It’s called a bacterial culture and sensitivity test. Dr. Karen Becker, DVM says, “When a veterinarian prescribes an antibiotic without a bacterial culture and sensitivity test, he or she is making a guess at what type of organism is present and the best antibiotic to treat it.“
By asking for this test your vet will be able to determine what organism is causing the problem and which antibiotic is needed to treat it. Maybe they’ll even find that there’s no need for the antibiotic at all! And it’s important to remember that antibiotics ONLY treat bacterial infections. If the issue is viral or fungal, the antibiotics only compromise the bodies natural ability to fight the infection.
Also – we always recommend being as proactive with your cat’s health. Feeding a species appropriate diet, adding in supplementation and committing to regular wellness exams will help prevent issues before they start!