If your cat is prescribed an antibiotic, it is most likely metronidazole. Metronidazole is used to treat various problems in cats such as diarrhea, severe vomiting, different types of infections, as well as stomach or minor kidney problems. While it usually does the job well and gets your cat to regain its health, some cats aren’t allergic to metronidazole. In this case, we will help you figure out the best alternatives to metronidazole for your cat.
This article will cover different substitutes to metronidazole, which include both alternative medicines and natural methods to avoid metronidazole.
Alternatives to metronidazole for cats
Metronidazole is quite a strong medication. Even if you administer a small amount to your cat, it should fix whatever the issue is in its body.
Looking at the properties of metronidazole, we will only consider alternatives to metronidazole for cats that are similar or close to its intensity so they are viable to use.
The alternatives we will mention are also mostly intended for specific diseases, for which the metronidazole was prescribed. If you want to use them for another disease (which we have not stated under the respective heading), contact a vet.
Now that we have the precautionary measures and useful information out of the way, let’s get into the alternatives to metronidazole for cats.
If you have ever stumbled upon biotechnology in science class, you probably know a little bit about probiotics.
Probiotics are bacteria that unlike most bacteria around us, are actually good and important for your cat. They help smoothen the process of digestion and help with gastrointestinal problems.
Examples of probiotics are yogurt, pickles, buttermilk and much more. Most of these probiotic foods are very common in our daily life, and some may even be suitable for cats. But they are usually made for human consumption, not cats.
For cats, especially sick cats, there are simplified options available like pills, powders, and even liquids in bottles for easier consumption. You can also find different flavors that your cat will enjoy!
Now, it is important to note that probiotics do not heal the cat, they simply have soothing effects on the digestive system.
If your cat is a victim of gastrointestinal problems, then you may be prescribed other antibiotics by your vet depending on how bad the situation is.
There are not many side effects of this, but if your cat is lactose intolerant, then probiotics can cause a bit of issues in its body. Diarrhea and nausea are some common symptoms, but nothing too serious to be worried about.
Hence, probiotics are as natural as you can go- do not sleep on them.
If you ask your vet about the best alternative to metronidazole for cats, there the chances of them saying tylosin are quite high. This is because Tylosin is also an antibiotic that has very similar properties to metronidazole.
Experts say that it belongs to the same background as metronidazole, hence the similarities in the diseases it treats and how strongly it affects the cat.
Tylosin comes in the form of a powder and also in syrup form so it is easier to administer to your cat. It is best to give for diseases like digestive issues, including diarrhea and bloating.
One major difference between metronidazole and tylosin is the time they are in effect. Tylosin does not last in the body very long (around 24 hours at max), while metronidazole may last longer. It all depends on the state of your cat’s health and its organs.
It can also have a couple of side effects like nausea and drooling, but if these things escalate, then you may have to get in contact with a vet.
The first dose can be a bit hard to swallow for your cat mainly because it is quite a bitter medicine. Luckily, there are options of injecting the medicine, or if you want you can give it with a treat to minimize its flavor.
Clindamycin hydrochloride can be sort of an unheard drug when we talk about metronidazole, but nevertheless, it is prescribed in some cases.
It is FDA approved, so you do not have to be worried about safety concerns. This drug is used to treat diseases like minor and big infections but not chronic diseases, unless approved by the vet.
Clindamycin can be given in capsules and syrup form, and it is said to be bitter so you may have to think of creative ways to disguise it so your cat can have it.
Just like other drugs, a bunch of side effects can emerge during the course, such as loose motions, nausea, and bloating. If you are giving your cat a pill, you have to be a little more careful as digestive problems can occur too.
This drug has also caused bloody diarrhea to many cats in the past, so if you see any signs of a bloody motion from your cat after this medicine, consult a vet immediately.
Rifaximin is also a strong antibiotic that takes approximately 1-2 days to take full effect on your cat’s symptoms. It can be administered in both pills and syrup form.
This medication works best on cats that are afflicted with diseases such as chronic diarrhea, liver disease, and even IBD.
However, switching from metronidazole to rifaximin has its fair share of issues.
Just like with metronidazole, you may notice side effects such as rashes, dizziness, itching, and sometimes even swelling.
The most commonly affected area in cats after having this medication is feet. Rifaximin is known for water retention so it can sometimes cause water to go towards the feet and stay there for a while.
You can fix this issue by using vitamin B6 tablets along with rifaximin.
Nausea, lack of appetite and energy can also occur, but do not be too worried about these.
Lastly, if the amount of rashes, itchiness, and lack of appetite increases, then make sure you have a vet to contact as soon as possible.
Switching up your cats’ diet plan
All we have talked about until now is medicines, but what about trying out a natural method instead of a medication?
If your cat has chronic life-threatening issues, then it is best that you stick to drugs prescribed by the vet and avoid this part.
But there is not much to say here, sometimes a cat can have issues in its body because of a new diet or an unusual ingredient.
We know how sensitive their stomachs are, and this can become a problem if you introduce your cat to a new diet when it is used to its old one.
So what should you do in this case? You can switch your cat’s diet back to what it was, or you can make a new diet plan that incorporates healthier ingredients for your cat to give its stomach rest for a while.
Staying hydrated is very important especially when it is on medications, and a thorough and filling meal is also advised (unless it has stomach problems).
Your vet may give certain soluble solutions to your cat to help with energy levels and its electrolytes in the body.
There are many other precautions you may be advised to follow until your cat becomes healthy again, so listen to your vet and implement what they tell you.
Corticosteroids are prescribed mostly for skin problems, but they are sometimes also given to cats that have bowel inflammatory disease (IBD).
Since it is a steroid, a small dose of any such medication will work quickly on a cat’s small body.
Corticosteroids work by numbing the pain receptors in the synapses of the cat’s nerves, and they also help in reducing swelling, which is what makes them good for IBD and skin disease patients.
There can be some side effects like more thirst, appetite loss, and loss of energy, but these are not too serious and go away as the course ends.
Other than that, make sure you do not accidentally give your cat an overdose of corticosteroids as the situation can become life-threatening really quickly.
To conclude, what could be a suitable alternative to metronidazole for cats?
In this article, we have mentioned the different substitutes to metronidazole if you feel that it does not suit your cat’s needs.
Firstly, probiotics use natural bacteria that is already present in the cat’s body, so it works well to soothe your cat’s stomach if it is not feeling well.
Tylosin on the other hand is a popular alternative to metronidazole in vets’ eyes. It does have a couple of side effects though,and it can be difficult to get your cat to swallow its pills because they are bitter.
Clindamycin hydrochloride is not a common alternative to metronidazole for cats, but works just fine even though it has some side effects.
Rifaximin is an antibiotic that works best for chronic illnesses and liver and kidney problems. It can cause a problem of water retention in your cat’s feet, but B6 supplements are the cure to this issue.
A natural method that can help change the course of things for your cat is fixing or switching up its diet. Vets also provide liquid supplements and vitamins to make the change easier for your cat.
Lastly, Corticosteroids, even though usually used for skin diseases, can also be of help in IBD in cats due to its numbing and swelling healing capacity.
Finally, there are side effects with almost all of the medications, but each of them depends on many factors so there’s no promising anything.
The best you can do is consult a vet before using a new antibiotic, and let him know if you see any harsh side effects.