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  • Writer's pictureClinique Vet LaSalle

Can I get a prescription for antibiotics over the phone for my cat or my dog?

Updated: May 24, 2023

When your pet is sick, you take it seriously. You want him/her to heal. We do too! This is why you and we, as animal healthcare professionals, must take antibiotics seriously too.

This fabulous discovery of the 20th century has fought life-threatening bacterial infections in humans and now in our animals. Unfortunately, their improper use leads to resistance and complicates simple treatments in normal times. In some cases, there are deaths, human or animal, due to bacterial resistance. We are all important players in the fight against resistance to antibiotics.

What is an antibiotic used for?

The antibiotic treats bacterial infections caused by the overgrowth of bacteria pathogens. It will be prescribed if and only if the symptoms are due to a bacterial infection. Viral or fungal infections are not treated with antibiotics but can cause symptoms similar to a bacterial infection. Your vet will know the difference.

What is bacterial resistance?

Resistance occurs when a bacterium is not affected by the antibiotic used. This resistance can be transmitted to another bacterium. We can then make a bacterial culture in the laboratory. This makes it possible to identify the pathogenic bacterium as well as the antibiotics the bacterium is sensitive to in the hopes that there is one. The problem is that there is more and more resistance so less and less effective antibiotics. Microbiologists are even worried about this situation. It is therefore important to be aware of the issue.

Our animals, just like humans, have normal bacterial flora. These bacteria live on the skin, in the intestines, etc. They help with the proper functioning of their body. These bacteria are as affected by antibiotics as the bacteria pathogens, that is, those that cause infection. Good bacteria that resist the antibiotic used may transmit this resistance to the pathogenic bacteria. If the antibiotic is stopped before the infection has completely healed, the bacteria pathogens that have not been eradicated will be able to acquire resistance via the good bacteria. When the antibiotic is used again, it will not work.

Why can't antibiotics be prescribed without a physical exam?

The veterinarian should ensure that the animal’s condition requires it before prescribing an antibiotic. If the test suggests it’s a viral infection, no antibiotics will be prescribed. If it is a bacterial infection, your veterinarian will select the correct antibiotic for your pet's condition. Several antibiotics exist, but they do not all treat the same infections.

Even if your pet has a recurring condition, your veterinarian should see him in consultation before prescribing anything. It is not uncommon for the cause of the infection, for example, an ear infection, varies from ear infection to ear infection and the treatment is different every time. If the drug used is not suitable, there is a risk of developing a resistance.

How to manage an antibiotic prescription?

If your pet has a bacterial infection and needs to take antibiotics, these are the rules to follow:

1. You must finish your prescription even if the symptoms have disappeared. You should never have any leftover antibiotics.

2. Respect the prescription. Dosage is determined by the weight and condition of your pet. If you have any concerns, contact your veterinarian.

3. Come in for the follow-ups recommended by your veterinarian to ensure that the infection has healed properly. If not, treatment will be extended or re-evaluated.

4. Do not give antibiotics prescribed for another animal or for a human. Each antibiotic has its use, and the dosage varies from animal to animal. Some human medications are dangerous for our pets.

5. If your veterinarian does not prescribe an antibiotic for your pet's condition, do not insist. Your pet does not need it. Trust your vet.

Contact us if you have any questions.

Geneviève B.
Animal health technician
Stock supervisor
Picture #1 : Stella D. / Picture #2 : Stitch T-L / Picture #3 : Yuzu / Picture #4 : Squirrel G.
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