Cats can often suffer from stomach issues or gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses. There are a multitude of pharmaceuticals on the market from which veterinarians can choose. Metronidazole is one such drug that is often used to treat vomiting and GI problems in cats, mainly because it is relatively safe as well as cost-effective.
Metronidazole: What It Is
Metronidazole is both an antibiotic and antiprotozoal often used to treat bacterial infections. The drug is also used to a lesser extent to treat parasitic infections in animals, including cats.
Metronidazole is used to treat bacterial infections, such as stomach infections, urinary tract infections, skin infections and infections of the respiratory tract. It is used to treat infections caused by Giardia, Balantidium coli, and Trichomonas. Metronidazole is not effective for use against any viruses.
Metronidazole is available in tablets, capsules and as an injectable liquid. Tablets are available in 250 mg and 500 mg dosages. Capsules are available in 375 mg dosage. The injectable form is manufactured in 500 mL and 5 mL vials.
Metronidazole dosing levels for cats is typically 5 mg to 30 mg per pound of body weight, depending on severity of the illness. It is normally given one to four times per day. Duration of treatment can last for as little as one day, up to 10 or 14 days.
Metronidazole is usually regarded as safe, but some side effects can occur with use. The most common side effect is loss of appetite. Other more severe side effects include neurological issues, head tilt, tremors, seizures, lethargy, and liver disease. Cats with known liver illness should not be placed on metronidazole. Metronidazole can also interact with other drugs and should only be used by prescription from a veterinarian.