by Amber Drake

Does My Cat Need Probiotics After Antibiotics?

Does My Cat Need Probiotics After Antibiotics?

Probiotics are necessary following antibiotics, or, better yet, on a regular basis. A significant amount of your cat’s immune system resides in their gut, and antibiotics damage the gut’s delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. 

One of the most common reasons cats get diarrhea is because they were given antibiotics. Antibiotics kill all the bacteria in your pet's body, including the good bacteria. These good bacteria help protect your cat's body against bad bacteria. 

Without the proper balance of good and bad bacteria, your cat's digestive system becomes more vulnerable to infection and disease. Despite the negative effects of antibiotics, there are times when your cat truly needs them. 

In these cases, they should absolutely be provided. However, there are ways to improve your cat’s health to reduce the need for antibiotics and to help protect them when antibiotics are necessary.

Antibiotics for Cats

Antibiotics for cats can be a lifesaver, but they should not be used without good reason. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat bacterial infections. If a cat has a viral infection, antibiotics will not help.

Antibiotics may be used for preventative measures as well, including:

  • Spaying or neutering your cat
  • Routine dental work
  • Following exposure to an infectious disease such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
  • Prior to boarding your pet at the veterinarian's office 
  • Any time you plan on traveling with your cat in the car or plane

Most Common Types of Feline Antibiotics 

Antibiotic medications are prescribed by your veterinarian based on your pet's medical history and current symptoms. The type of antibiotic prescribed will depend on the type of infection being treated. 

The most common types of antibiotics given to cats are:

  • Penicillin: Broad spectrum antibiotics which work against many types of bacteria 
  • Cephalosporins: Work against gram positive bacteria and some gram negative bacteria as well as some viruses
  • Clindamycin: Clindamycin is sometimes combined with other antibiotics (such as amoxicillin) that are effective against specific types of bacteria that cause cat health problems like UTIs or enteritis (inflammation of the intestines)
  • Macrolides: Work against both gram positive and some gram negative bacteria and certain protozoa (single-celled organisms)

The Side Effects of Antibiotics on Your Cat’s Gut Health

The most common side effect is diarrhea, which usually occurs within 24 hours after administration of the antibiotic. Cat diarrhea after antibiotics can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the type of medicine given to your cat. Some antibiotics may cause constipation or an upset stomach in cats as well. 

Other less common side effects include vomiting, nausea, and loss of appetite within 24 hours after taking the medication. If these symptoms occur, contact your vet immediately because they could be signs of an allergic reaction or toxicity in your pet's body due to the antibiotic being taken for too long or at a dose too high for them to handle.

Only Use as Needed

Bacterial infections are one of the leading causes of death in cats. If your cat shows any signs or symptoms of a bacterial infection, such as discharge from their eyes or nose or sneezing and coughing, you should bring them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If your cat is showing signs of infection, they will likely be prescribed an antibiotic to clear up the symptoms.

However, you should only utilize antibiotics when absolutely necessary. Not only do antibiotics cause dysbiosis (imbalance) in your cat’s gut, but taking too many antibiotics can also lead to antibiotic resistance.

The use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine is increasing year over year. And, it's a dangerous problem. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat an antibiotic and survive its effects. 

If the bacteria are present in your cat, they can transfer their resistance to other bacteria or multiply, which makes them much harder to treat with antibiotics. This can lead to a serious illness requiring hospitalization or even death in severe cases

Essentially, what we’re saying is, use antibiotics when medically necessary. But, if you overuse antibiotics, they may not work when they’re needed.

Probiotics for Cats After Antibiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that help maintain a healthy gut environment. They compete with other bacteria for food and space, which keeps disease-causing bacteria from taking over. They also produce vitamins and enzymes that are essential for digestion. Because they're living microorganisms, probiotics must be taken regularly to maintain their effect on the gut.

That’s where Daily Cat comes in. Daily Cat contains a strain of good yeast known as Saccharomyces boulardii that, unlike most probiotics, is not killed even if your cat is taking antibiotics

This means that your cat’s gut microbiome will be protected even while they’re taking any of the above antibiotics, and it lessens the risk of your cat experiencing the common side effect of diarrhea. 

Boosting the Cat Immune System

S. boulardii, when taken daily, can also boost your cat’s immune system, reducing the risk of illness. How does it boost the immune system, exactly? 

The immune system is the body's defense against disease. It protects your cat from pathogens, harmful microorganisms such as viruses or bacteria, by recognizing them as foreign invaders and attacking them with antibodies.

When your cat's immune system recognizes a pathogen, it produces white blood cells known as lymphocytes that attack the invader. This process is called lymphokine production. Lymphocytes also release chemicals called cytokines to stimulate other parts of the immune system to respond to the pathogen.

Probiotics improve the response of the immune system by making more cytokines and making natural killer cells work better. By reducing the number of inflammatory cells in your cat's body, they may also reduce inflammation caused by infections or allergies.

Get Started with Feline Probiotics

Providing your cat with daily probiotics is easy. All you need to do is grab a jar of Daily Cat and add one scoop (for an adult cat) or half a scoop (for a kitten) to their food each day. By offering this supplement, you will be adding 2.5 billion CFU’s of Saccharomyces boulardii to your cat’s diet regimen. 

In addition to providing your cat with probiotics, Daily Cat improves your cat’s overall health by adding in prebiotics, amino acids, and digestive enzymes. 

Most importantly, remember that Daily Cat is a highly effective and valuable probiotic for cats on antibiotics and cats recovering from antibiotic therapy. 

Grab a scoop today and your cat will be on their way to a properly balanced gut microbiome and better overall health! 

Read More:

The effects of nutrition on the gastrointestinal microbiome of cats and dogs

Saccharomyces boulardii Probiotic for Pets

Antibiotic-resistant infections in pets: What now?

Companion animals symposium: Microbes and gastrointestinal health of dogs and cats

Photo by Roberto Huczek on Unsplash

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