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Mar 07 2016

Why won’t the Veterinarian just give me an antibiotic?

We are all guilty of it – playing doctor, diagnosing our symptoms and determining that if our doctor will just give us an antibiotic, we will be well in a few days.  So the call is placed to your physician, your child’s pediatrician or your pet’s veterinarian and you are told “NO.”  You, your child, your pet must be seen.  While I cannot speak for the M.D.s of the world, there are a number of reasons why we will request to see your pet.

  1. Many symptoms are similar for very different problems.  The classic example is diarrhea.  This is a symptom of a number of different problems in dogs including intestinal parasites, a foreign body obstruction and parvo virus.  (By the way, antibiotics will not treat any of those problems).  Although it may seem like an inconvenience, it’s best that the doctor determine what is wrong with your pet before throwing a medication at the problem that will do nothing for your pet.
  2. Antibiotics are only good for bacterial infections.  When you pet comes in for an ear problem (scratching ears, shaking his head) the veterinarian will recommend an ear cytology.  This test will let us know if your pet has a bacterial infection or a fungal infection.  If the doctor just prescribes the antibiotic without doing this test, your pet may not get better because an antibiotic will not cure a fungal infection.
  3. Some pets cannot have antibiotics.  Sure, this doesn’t apply to many pets, but for those of us who have pet chickens, ducks or turkeys, and we eat the eggs from these pets, a veterinarian is not supposed to prescribe an antibiotic for this pet.  In a case where there are no other options, we will make sure you understand that this pet can no longer be a food-producing pet.
  4. Finally, there are growing concerns that the overuse and misuse of antibiotics has led to an antibiotic resistance nationwide.  Some believe that this could be one of the reasons behind MRSA outbreaks in hospitals.


So when you call Grafton Animal Hospital and you are asked to bring your pet in to see us, keep in mind that it’s for the best interest of you and your pet.  Yes it may seem more expensive to pay for an exam when you have already diagnosed your pet, but using medications that can hurt or not help your pet will only prolong your pet’s recovery.  If you have any other questions, please contact any of our staff at (757) 898-8433.

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