Therapeutic Antibiotic Use Patterns in Dogs: Observations From a Veterinary Teaching Hospital

J Small Anim Pract. 2011 Jun;52(6):310-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5827.2011.01072.x.


Objectives: To describe therapeutic antibiotic use patterns in dogs at a small animal teaching hospital.

Methods: A retrospective case analysis of randomly sampled antibiotic prescriptions in dogs from May 20, 2008 to May 20, 2009, deemed to be for therapeutic use, was performed. Records were reviewed to determine if there was documentation of confirmed, suspected or no evidence of infection. The five most frequently prescribed antibiotics were identified and analysed for their distribution in these categories.

Results: In 17% of therapeutic antibiotic prescriptions there was confirmed infection, in 45% suspected infection, and in 38% there was no documented evidence of infection. Amoxicillin-clavulanate was the most frequently prescribed antibiotic, followed by cefazolin/cephalexin, enrofloxacin, ampicillin/amoxicillin and doxycycline. Doxycycline was the most frequently prescribed with no documented evidence of infection, and amoxicillin-clavulanate was the most frequently prescribed with either confirmed or suspected evidence of infection.

Discussion: Clinicians use a variety of tools when deciding whether or not to prescribe an antibiotic and which antibiotic to use. As in human medicine, there is likely overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians should engage in discussions regarding clinically applicable guidelines for appropriate antibiotic use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Infections / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization / trends
  • Hospitals, Animal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Teaching / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Veterinary Drugs


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Veterinary Drugs