Nitrofurantoin in Dogs

by Keri Gardner
    Nitrofurantoin is a synthetic antibiotic prescribed by veterinarians to treat urinary tract infections.

    Nitrofurantoin is a synthetic antibiotic prescribed by veterinarians to treat urinary tract infections.

    Dean Golja/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Nitrofurantoin is a synthetic antibiotic drug prescribed to treat urinary tract infections. It's used in both human and veterinary medicine. Among the brand-name variants of nitrofurantoin are Macrodantin, Macrobid, Furadantin and Furatoin. Veterinarians prescribe nitrofurantoin extra-label, as it has not been approved by the FDA for use in dogs.

    Pharmacology of Nitrofurantoin

    Nitrofurantoin is part of a group of synthetic antibiotics called nitrofurans. The drug can kill numerous types of infectious bacteria, including E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Aerobacter aerogenes. Lab tests conducted on urine taken from your dog during a veterinary visit can determine what bacteria are causing the infection. Nitrofurantoin side effects, though not common, may manifest as vomiting, diarrhea, neurological symptoms or hypersensitivity.

    Drug Choice

    Nitrofurantoin, popular for over 50 years in human medicine, has the ability to reach very high concentrations in the urine and kill susceptible bacterial invaders. The use of nitrofurantoin in small animal veterinary medicine has been losing popularity due to the drug's higher toxicity and lower performance. Other drugs, such as beta-lactams and fluoroquinolones, have proved less toxic and more effective.

    Photo Credits

    • Dean Golja/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Based in Michigan, Keri Gardner has been writing scientific journal articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in such journals as "Disability and Rehabilitation" and "Journal of Orthopaedic Research." She holds a Master of Science in comparative medicine and integrative biology from Michigan State University.

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