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What are Antibiotics Allergies?

A variety of different antibiotics are prescribed to treat bacterial infection in dogs. These drugs either kill bacteria outright (bactericidal) or they make it more difficult for the bacteria to grow and reproduce (bacteriostatic). Some antibiotics are broad-spectrum, meaning they are effective for a variety of different diseases, while others are narrow-spectrum since they mainly target one type of bacteria or infection. Antibiotics fall into different classes, based on their chemical structure and the mechanism with which they target bacteria. The most common and well known are the beta-lactam antibiotics, like penicillin, which prevent bacteria from forming a cell wall. Other classes of antibiotics can affect DNA synthesis or the production of necessary proteins in certain bacteria.

Any drug has the potential for side-effects or allergic reaction. Side-effects refer to the negative effects the drug may have on the body, while allergic reaction describes an immune system response that targets the medication as a threat. While side-effects will be present to a greater or lesser degree in any dog taking the drug, allergic reactions are based on individual sensitivity to a specific medication. Unfortunately, antibiotics cause more allergic responses in dogs than any other group of drugs. Most symptoms are typical of other histamine producing allergies; dogs may develop an itchy rash, and watery eyes or nose. Swelling of the face or even the respiratory tract is possible. In rare cases, dogs can have a severe, life-threatening reaction called anaphylactic shock. This can cause collapse, difficulty breathing and even death.

Most owners won’t be aware of an allergic response until the antibiotic is prescribed to their dog. This is why it is important to watch dogs carefully anytime a new medication is started and get immediate treatment for symptoms that appear unusual or severe. All previous allergic reactions should be communicated to the veterinarian before an antibiotic is prescribed. If your dog has an allergic response to one antibiotic, it’s likely that he will experience a similar problem with other medications in the same class.

Antibiotics help to eliminate harmful bacteria and are some of the most important medications for dogs, however they are also one of the most common causes of allergic drug reaction. Symptoms range from mild rash and watery eyes, to rare, but life-threatening, anaphylaxis.

Antibiotics Allergies Average Cost

From 435 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Antibiotics Allergies in Dogs

Look for these symptoms if your dog is taking an antibiotic for the first time.

  • Rash (maculopapular lesions)
  • Redness (erythroderma)
  • Other types of skin lesion (blisters or scaling skin)
  • Itchiness (pruritus)
  • Incessant scratching
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Swelling and hives (uticaria-angiodema)
  • Purple rash caused by bleeding into the dermal tissue (purpura)
  • Anaphylactic shock which is rare (vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, death)

Types

There are too many antibiotic classes to list them all. Following are some common types that could be prescribed to your dog. Penicillins and sulfonamides have the highest rates of allergic reaction.

  • Beta-lactam antibiotics – group of bactericidal drugs that inhibit the formation of the cell wall including penicillin, cephalosporins, and cephamycins
  • Sulfonamides (sulfa drugs) – a group of bacteriostatic drugs, one of the most common antibacterial agents prescribed to dogs because their low cost and relative effectiveness in treating typical bacterial infections; examples are sulfadiazine, sulfadimethoxine, and succinylsulfathiazole
  • Tetracyclines – broad-spectrum bacteriostatic agents that get their name because of their chemical structure with four rings; Oxytetracycline, Minocycline, and Doxycycline are some examples used in dogs
  • Quinolones and Fluoroquinolones – a group of bactericidal antibiotics that interfere with the bacteria’s ability to make DNA; some examples are ciprofloxacin, danofloxacin and difloxacin
  • Aminoglycosides – this is a group bactericidal antibiotics that stops the production of necessary proteins in the bacteria, Gentamicin and Amikacin are two examples used in dogs
  • Macrolides – bacteriostatic antibiotics that inhibit the production of bacterial protein; Azithromycin is the main example used in dogs
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Causes of Antibiotics Allergies in Dogs

These are some causes and risk factors for antibiotics allergies.

  • New antibiotic prescribed to your dog
  • Dog develops a new allergy
  • General tendency toward allergic reactions
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Diagnosis of Antibiotics Allergies in Dogs

Antibiotic allergies are typically diagnosed because owners notice an unusual response when their dog begins a new medication. Rarely, dogs could also develop a new allergy to an antibiotic which previously didn’t cause a problem. There isn’t any way to test for an antibiotics allergy without actually giving the drug to your dog. 

You should call the veterinarian if you see abnormal symptoms in your dog, especially when these correspond with the start of a new mediation. The veterinarian will be able to tell you if this is a typical side-effect, part of the original infection, or a more dangerous response. Life-threatening symptoms like collapse or difficulty breathing should be treated as an emergency.

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Treatment of Antibiotics Allergies in Dogs

With any drug reaction, the first important treatment is to stop taking the medication. If the reaction was mild, your dog’s symptoms will likely clear up on their own and no further treatment will be necessary. However the veterinarian may still need to prescribe another antibiotic to treat the original infection.

Creams and topical ointments may be necessary for severe rashes and skin infections. This can help them heal and reduce the chances of further infection. Affected areas may need to be clipped of hair and covered with a bandage. Antihistamines or corticosteroids could be given to reduce symptoms and make your dog more comfortable.

Anaphylactic shock will need more aggressive treatment. Immediate epinephrine injection can reduce life-threatening symptoms. Additional oxygen, intravenous fluids, blood transfusions and other emergency measure could also be necessary.

If symptoms continue after the antibiotic is discontinued, this suggests the allergic reaction was likely related to another trigger. You should discuss this with the veterinarian and research other possible causes.

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Recovery of Antibiotics Allergies in Dogs

Most dogs recover from an allergic reactions to antibiotics. Life-threatening symptoms are rare, and even anaphylactic shock can be treated as long as your dog gets emergency care in time. Your dog will likely have the allergy for life, however, so this will need to be managed. Any new veterinarian should be informed of all your dog’s known allergies. Discuss side-effects and the possibility of an allergic reaction anytime a new medication is prescribed, so you know what symptoms to watch for in your dog. If your dog has had an anaphylactic reaction to medications or other triggers, ask the veterinarian about getting a dog Epipen so that you have something on hand to use in case of another crisis.

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Antibiotics Allergies Average Cost

From 435 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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Antibiotics Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Jack Russell Terrier

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Trouble Breathing,Trouble Walking , Jumping Up On Things

Rapid breathing at night, sounds congested. Can’t jump up on things and has trouble walking up 3 steps

Feb. 9, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Maureen M. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, Sorry about that. It could be a respiratory infection or allergies. I extreme cases a heart problem. I would advise a visit to the vet for a thorough check up to know what is causing the above symptoms. Good luck

Feb. 9, 2021

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Jack Russell Terrier

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Having Hard Time Breathing And Sleep All Day

My dog is taking an antibiotic and is having a hard time breathing

Dec. 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello, depending on what antibiotics this is it could be causing him to act this way but there can be something more going on. I would recommend taking him to the ER vet if he is having trouble breathing.

Dec. 31, 2020

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english bullboxer

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hives

I noticed 2 evenings ago my dogs muzzle was swollen a bit and her eyes extra watery. Within an hour she had hives everywhere!! I rinsed her off & gave her benadryl but she kept getting worse through the night shallow quick breathing (80 rpm) get bouts of hyper aggressiveness. I took the vet 1st thing in the morning she got a steriod shot & an antihistamine. But its not helping she seems like her breathing is getting worse & worse! Could it be something other than an allergic reaction?

Oct. 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

As there were hives, this is most likely an IGE mediated allergy. It may be that it is ongoing or that she is having a biphasic reaction (whereby the body reacts a 2nd time). As she could develop a blood pressure drop and shock she needs to be in the vet as she likely needs more medicine and iv fluids.

Oct. 30, 2020

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Dachshund

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Itching

He’s Ben it hi big for a while. He takes Apoquel. He just got a shot of some sort of allergy medicine similar to Apoquel and a steroid shot. He also takes kepprA. He is currently on an antibiotic as well to help with bacterial infection created from so much scratching. He started oral steroids on Friday. He is STILL itching so bad

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It might be best to have him seen by a dermatologist, as he is taking so many medications for allergies and infections. It might be a good idea, as well, to have your veterinarian check for a parasite called Demodex, as that can be an unexpected cause of itching.

Oct. 8, 2020

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Mix breed

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic Unable To Walk Properly Confused

Lethargic unable to walk properly confused

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, I'm sorry your dog is not feeling well. From your description, it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian right away. There may be a metabolic or neurologic problem causing what's going on, and they will be able to examine your dog and see what needs to be done for them. I hope that all goes well.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Coco

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Chihuahua

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Ataxia

My dog Coco vomited and aspirated some of it so I took her the the vet and after doing xrays they gave her Cerenia Injection, Clavulox Injection and Amoxyclav tablets to take for 2 weeks. Within 36 hours of having antibiotics she started having hind leg ataxia. Could the antibiotics be the cause. She did not have any ataxia before antibiotics. Completely healthy otherwise, has gone off food a bit but blood works came back fine.

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Alfie

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Pug

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Eye Swollen

My pug has been drowsy and swelling of eyes, he sounds like he is gargling a bit a few hours later after taking the antibiotics. He is even whimpering. I have googled everything and the vet has checked his eyes and doesn't know so I am thinking it's the clavubactin.

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Rafael

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Golden Retriever

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Rash

Rafael was clipped by a car on 3/9, he had a very bad road rash on his leg. We took him to a local pet hospital,he was still walking normally and didn't appear to have any more serious injuries(thank god). The Vet trimmed and clean the area on his leg of hair to allow the wound to be exposed to air to heal. He prescribed 3 medications, Tramdolol 50mg, Metacam 1.5ml, Clavamox 250mg. He had a a hard time taking the pills the first few dyas and didn't eat. He is now eating normally but this morning we noticed a rash on his other leg. Could it be a allgeric reaction to the medications he is currently taking.

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Mikey

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Bullmastiff

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling

My dog Mickey went into the vet with his neck swollen on his right side and fever of 104. The vet said that he had an infection in his glands after checking him and ruling out a cyst. The vet prescribed him Cefopodoxine Simplice 200mg 2 1/2 tablets a day 1 time a day and Carprofen 100mg 1 tablet twice a day. It’s been 2 days and my dogs neck hasn’t changed and now his face has swelling on his right side as well. My dog is drinking a lot of water, and will not touch his dry dog food and is drooling more then usual. My vet can not see him until Monday and I don’t have the money to take him to the animal hospital after just paying a $275 vet bill. Can some one please help me.

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Oscar

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Mal-shi

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty

I had a 12 year old Shih Tzu/Maltese that had a cyst removed. The vet prescribed carprofen and clavamox. After two days he refused to eat or drink. After two days of not eating or drinking I took him back because I was worried. I told her that he is refusing to eat anything or drink. I asking told her that it sounds like water was in his lung and he would cough. She suggested getting an x-ray but I told her I couldn't afford it. She said why don't we try a cough suppressant and give him an injection of antibiotics since he won't take the pills. Next day he's still not eating or drinking and his breathing became worse. Next day was day number 4 with no food or water and still gasping for air with his rib cage expanded for each breath. I forgot to mention he had liver disease in the past but no yellow eyes at this time. Now after reading these posts I believe I killed my own dog from antibiotics!! I feel like total s$&@ and will never forgive myself. Do you believe he died from the antibiotics or is that the end stages of liver disease?

Antibiotics Allergies Average Cost

From 435 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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