Categories: diarrhea

Antibiotics for Feline Diarrhea

Antibiotics may resolve feline diarrhoea but the veterinarian has to do extensive tests in order to diagnose antibiotic-responsive diarrhoea. The veterinarian has to rule out all other possible causes of the diarrhoea first.

Apparently, it is not uncommon for cat owners to ask if antibiotics can cure their cat’s diarrhoea but antibiotics are only useful if a specific bacterial cause is found in faecal cultures. In fact, in most cases of diarrhoea, we are told that antibiotics are not helpful and they can even make matters worse.

When antibiotics are effective to treat diarrhoea it is believed that cause of the diarrhoea is a “small intestine bacterial overgrowth” (pet MD website).

The source of this information is Dr Bruce Fogle.

P.S. The most common cause of diarrhoea is a sudden change in diet. Some cats develop lactose intolerance causing diarrhoea. Lactose-free milk should be used. If diarrhoea has been caused by scavenging it will normally clear up quite quickly. Adding an appropriate probiotic supplement to a cat’s diet will help diarrhoea clear up faster. Other causes of diarrhoea include: medicines, poisons, intestine problems including inflammatory bowel disease, worms and tumours, intestinal infections caused by viruses, single celled parasites and bacteria, metabolic diseases such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism and gastrointestinal infections.

Click on this link to see a list of articles on this website about feline diarrhoea.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Antibiotics for diarrhea is a singularly bad idea. It is much better to give probiotics whenever possible. The model in medicine has been to "kill germs." If we just wipe out all that nasty bacteria everything will be fine.

    Except that many bacteria are friendly-- they are necessary for health. Seventy percent of our immune systems are comprised of these healthy bacteria. When we give an antibiotic to kill off unhealthy species of bacteria we end up killing off some of our army of good guys too. The problem is that the unhealthy invaders tend to recover more quickly and in much greater numbers than our healthy flora. Overuse of all antibiotics, not just the dangerous Fluoroquinolones, is a serious problem.

    Since my reaction to Cipro I find that I get sick much more often than before. I assume this is, at least in part, due to the loss of healthy bacteria. Quinolones actually kill bacteria. Most antibiotics just stop them from replicating.

    But as I have pushed probiotic foods and supplements I find I am losing weight-- a good thing as I have been obese for years. I read about a study with mice in which they put fecal material from fat mice into the colons of skinny mice and vice versa. The skinny mice got fat and vice versa. It appears our microbiome has effects on our health that go way past whether or not we get diarrhea after a round of antibiotics. If you can get past the ew factor of the idea of a fecal transplant, it's easy to see how important it is to protect our microbiome and that of our pets.

    Perhaps a lifetime of misusing antibiotics contributed to my weight problem. I do also like donuts. Monty is fat because he tells me he is starving and I believe him. He can be very persuasive.

  • This reminds me that a vet gave antibiotics to my cat last year when she was "constipated". She assumed that she had a bladder infection, did no tests, and gave antibiotics, in addition to Lactulose. She also said "she might have a mechanical problem."

    Shortly afterwards, my cat developed ear issues. I took her to a new vet, who did a "deep cleaning" after putting her under with a drug. Then they gave another drug to bring her out of it. She had severe reactions to both of these drugs, and I thought I was going to have to euthanize her. It took almost 3 weeks before she was near normal.

    Because of these experiences, I won't take her to any vet, unless it's something I can't tackle myself, with home remedies. It all started when she was given unnecessary antibiotics.

    • Your cat may have been given a Fluoroquinolone antibiotic. Somewhere on this site is my article about them. You can also go to floxiepets.com for more information. If she had a reaction and recovered the next time she may not be able to recover. Most humans harmed by quinolones recover eventually unless they take them again. Baytril is commonly given to cats but there are others and you need to watch out for topical preparations also.

      • The antibiotic was Baytril, and I remember doing some research on it at the time. I'd have to look up the other drugs she was given for the ear problem that was diagnosed as "debri". They never advised me of potential side effects and I think one of them had been recalled. She's an indoor cat, and at that time I wasn't taking her out on a leash, so I'm not sure how she had so much debri that that had to surgically remove it, and then were concerned that they may have punctured her eardrum. But fortunately they didn't. I now have a high degree of mistrust for vets, as a result.

        • So sorry she had Baytril. Would you consider sharing her story at floxiepets.com? I know that the site's creator, Lisa Bloomquist, would appreciate it. She definitely loves cats.

          Your poor cat definitely had a bad trip from that wretched poison. Although she seems recovered she may not be. I have lingering issues two years later, although no one would know it to look at me.

          You could look into probiotics for pets, as her microbiome was likely devastated by the Baytril.

          I wrote another article about a micronized purple rice product that can be given to pets. It has helped me heal quite a bit-- improved my sleep and my ability to relax and just feel normal. My symptoms still cycle and may do so for the rest of my life, but my normal windows are completely normal now and that was not true until I started the purple rice.

          In addition to killing off healthy bacteria, fluoroquinolones strip our bodies of functional minerals like magnesium, deplete intracellular antioxidants and they can cause damage to the parasympathetic or "rest and digest" portion of the autonomic nervous system.

          These are not what we normally consider side effects in that they do not stop when you stop taking the medication. The damage persists. It can even get worse long after the drug is stopped. I know people with ADR's to Cipro and Levaquin years in the past who continue today to have new spontaneous tendon ruptures. The loss of functional minerals and antioxidants causes increased oxidative stress which damages cells all over the body. For some reason the damage usually occurs in tendons but it can happen anywhere.

          In addition to the above list I should have mentioned that quinolones are topoisomerase inhibitors. Chemo drugs. They can't tell bacteria from the mitochondria of our own cells, so sometimes if too many mitochondria are harmed permanent chronic illness is the result.

          Why are these horrific drugs not only still on the market but handed out like candy? I'm sure it's for the same reasons declawing is not only legal but common in some countries.

          • I'm happy to report on what happened with my cat, after being giving Baytril. When I first read your posts about fluoroquinolones, and how purple rice helped you, I did research it.

            Since I've started feeding her commercially prepared raw food from a local company, she's healthy, and has become more affectionate, which is a plus, since she was a feral for over a year.

            I'm retired, so I'm home most of the time, and watch her carefully to avoid anything that could be problematic healthwise. One example is that my roommates put tinsel on the Christmas tree, and I explained that cats can swallow this, so we took it all off together! Sometimes they drop pills, but I spot them in a minute.

            There are so many dangers present to make serious problems for our pets. I'm just thankful that I have the time and the energy to do preventive maintenance.

            The last vet did give me probiotics for her, but she wouldn't eat her food when I mixed it in, so I gave up. I did give her goat milk and probiotic yogurt for awhile, which she really likes.

            Thank you for sharing information.

          • Good nutrition really is key to healing. That she is more affectionate is a good sign that she made a full recovery. Usually floxed animals remain distant and fearful, even if they had been affectionate beforehand. The probiotic yogurt is good-- it might be as good as the probiotics your vet gave you. I've found that naturally probiotic foods are a powerful way to improve gut health.

            It is truly horrible that a bet gave her such a strong antibiotic without confirming an infection. Luckily, she did not go outside around that time. Cats can be blinded after being given Baytril if they go outside on a sunny day.

          • I envy your ability to be able to pop to a local place to get raw cat food. I would love to be able to do that. That said, this morning as on many mornings, Gabriel, came in with a mouse and ate it, lock stock and barrel. I can't find a single trace of the mouse in the flat. He then ate commercially prepared cat food.

          • That's wonderful, and of course one of the benefits of Gabriel being able to go out. That's the best raw food for any cat!

            I do know that some pet stores and online companies sell frozen mice, so that's an alternative for indoor cats. I might consider it if I had freezer space. But I don't know how I'd actually feel about it. I have watched Mitzy kill a mouse that she found under a storage unit outside a few years ago. Maybe a good question for readers, to see if they'd consider buying frozen mice, or if they do. (Of course, not as much fun for the cat, but we're talking nutrition here.)

          • That mouse was good for him, Michael! A cat's natural food. I also would like to be able to feed Monty a higher quality food. If he does catch a mouse he does not eat it, he just licks it. He is literally too lazy to tear meat from the bones of his kills-- but if I would just cut it up for him and put it in his dish? Not gonna happen. Ew.

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