ISSN 2398-2942      

Therapeutics: bacterial infection



  • Empirical prescription of broad spectrum antibiotics is seldom indicated and facilitates antibiotic resistance. 
  • Consideration of a few key principles and guidelines specific to particular infections enables appropriate targeted therapy and good antibiotic stewardship. 
  • Culture and sensitivity remains the gold standard for optimum antibiotic selection and is essential when response to any initial empirical therapy is poor.

Principles of antimicrobial therapy

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to start a free trial to access all Vetlexicon articles, images, sounds and videos, or Login

Specific infections

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to start a free trial to access all Vetlexicon articles, images, sounds and videos, or Login

Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Morgane Canonne A, Roels E, Menard M et al (2020) Clinical response to 2 protocols of aerosolized gentamicin in 46 dogs with Bordetella bronchiseptica infection. J Vet Intern Med 34 (5), 2078-2085 PubMed
  • Lappin M R, Blondeau J, Boothe D et al (2017) Antimicrobial use Guidelines for Treatment of Respiratory Tract Disease in Dogs and Cats: Antimicrobial Guidelines Working Group of the International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases. J Vet Intern Med 31, 279-294 PubMed.
  • Tamborini A, Jahns H, McAllister H et al (2016) Bacterial Cholangitis, Cholecystitis, or both in Dogs. J Vet Intern Med 30 (4), 1046-1055 PubMed.
  • Litster A, Moss S M, Honnery M et al (2007) Prevalence of bacterial species in cats with clinical signs of lower urinary tract disease: recognition of Staphylococcus felis as a possible feline urinary tract pathogen. Vet Microbiol 121 (1-2), 182-188 PubMed.
  • Wagner K A, Hartmann F A, Trepanier L A (2007) Bacterial culture results from liver, gall bladder, or bile in 248 dogs and cats evaluated for hepatobiliary disease. J Vet Intern Med 21 (3), 417-424 PubMed.
  • Sykes J E, Kittleson M D, Pesavento P A et al (2006) Evaluation of the relationship between causative organisms and clinical characteristics of infective endocarditis in dogs: 71 cases (1992-2005). J Am Vet Med Assoc 228 (11), 1723-1734 PubMed.
  • Barrs V R, Allan G S, Martin P et al (2005) Feline pyothorax: a retrospective study of 27 cases in Australia. J Feline Med Surg (4), 211-222 PubMed.
  • Burkert B A, Kerwin S C, Hosgood G L et al (2005) Signalment and clinical features of diskospondylitis in dogs: 513 cases (1980-2001). J Am Vet Med Assoc 227 (2), 268-275 PubMed.
  • Elliott D R, Wilson M, Buckley C M et al (2005) Cultivable oral microbiota of domestic dogs. J Clin Microbiol 43 (11), 5470-5476 PubMed.
  • Ganiere J P, Medaille C, Mangion C (2005) Antimicrobial drug susceptibility of Staphylococcus intermedius clinical isolates from canine pyoderma. J Vet Med B Infect Dis Vet Public Health 52 (1), 25-31 PubMed.
  • Hagman R, Greko C (2005) Antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli isolated from bitches with pyometra and from urine samples from other dogs. Vet Rec 157 (7), 193-196 PubMed.
  • White S D, Brown A E, Chapman P L et al (2005) Evaluation of aerobic bacteriologic culture of epidermal collarette specimens in dogs with superficial pyoderma. J Am Vet Med Assoc 226 (6), 904-908 PubMed.
  • Breitschwerdt E B, Blann K R, Stebbins M E et al (2004) Clinicopathological Abnormalities and Treatment Response in 24 Dogs Seroreactive to Bartonella vinsonii (berkhoffii) Antigens. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 40 (2), 92-101 PubMed.
  • Foster S F, Martin P, Braddock J A et al (2004) A retrospective analysis of feline bronchoalveolar lavage cytology and microbiology (1995-2000). J Feline Med Surg (3), 189-198 PubMed.
  • MacDonald K A, Chomel B B, Kittleson M D et al (2004) A prospective study of canine infective endocarditis in northern California (1999-2001): emergence of Bartonella as a prevalent etiologic agent. J Vet Intern Med 18 (1), 56-64 PubMed.
  • Waddell L S, Brady C A, Drobatz K J (2002) Risk factors, prognostic indicators, and outcome of pyothorax in cats: 80 cases (1986-1999). J Am Vet Med Assoc 221 (6), 819-824 PubMed.
  • Ling G V, Norris C R, Franti C E et al (2001) Interrelations of organism prevalence, specimen collection method, and host age, sex, and breed among 8, 354 canine urinary tract infections (1969-1995). J Vet Intern Med 15 (4), 341-347 PubMed.
  • Speakman A J, Dawson S, Corkill J E et al (2000) Antibiotic susceptibility of canine Bordetella bronchiseptica isolates. Vet Microbiol 71 (3-4), 193-200 PubMed.
  • Walker A L, Jang S S, Hirsh D C (2000) Bacteria associated with pyothorax of dogs and cats: 98 cases (1989-1998). J Am Vet Med Assoc 216 (3), 359-363 PubMed.
  • Dhaliwal G K, Wray C, Noakes D E (1998) Uterine bacterial flora and uterine lesions in bitches with cystic endometrial hyperplasia (pyometra). Vet Rec 143 (24), 659-661 PubMed.
  • Harvey C E, Thornsberry C, Miller B R et al (1995) Antimicrobial susceptibility of subgingival bacterial flora in cats with gingivitis. J Vet Dent 12 (4), 157-160 PubMed.
  • Harvey C E, Thornsberry C, Miller B R et al (1995) Antimicrobial susceptibility of subgingival bacterial flora in dogs with gingivitis. J Vet Dent 12 (4), 151-155 PubMed.
  • Harvey C E, Thornsberry C, Miller B R (1995) Subgingival bacteria--comparison of culture results in dogs and cats with gingivitis. J Vet Dent 12 (4), 147-150 PubMed.
  • Jameson P H, King L A, Lappin M R et al (1995) Comparison of clinical signs, diagnostic findings, organisms isolated, and clinical outcome in dogs with bacterial pneumonia: 93 cases (1986-1991). J Am Vet Med Assoc 206 (2), 206-209 PubMed.
  • Randolph J F, Moise N S, Scarlett J M et al (1993) Prevalence of mycoplasmal and ureaplasmal recovery from tracheobronchial lavages and of mycoplasmal recovery from pharyngeal swab specimens in cats with or without pulmonary disease. Am J Vet Res 54 (6), 897-900 PubMed.
  • Kerwin S C, Lewis D D, Hribernik T N et al (1992) Diskospondylitis associated with Brucella canis infection in dogs: 14 cases (1980-1991). J Am Vet Med Assoc 201 (8), 1253-1257 PubMed.
  • Isogai E, Isogai H, Miura H et al (1989) Oral flora of mongrel and beagle dogs with periodontal disease. Nippon Juigaku Zasshi 51 (1), 110-118 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Weese J S, Giguere S, Guardabassi L et al (2015) ACVIM Consensus Statement on Therapeutic Antimicrobial Use in Animals and Antimicrobial Resistance. J Vet Intern Med 29 (2) 487-498 PubMed
  • American College of Veterinary Dentistry:
  • American Veterinary Medical Association (2006) Basic Guidelines of Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials.
  • Chew D J, DiBartola S (2006) Tips for managing lower urinary tract disorders: bacterial UTI. Proceedings of the 24th Annual Forum of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 2006.
  • Chew D J (2003) Bacteriuria in dysuric cats: fact or fiction? Proceedings of the Western Veterinary Conference 2003.
  • Miller C, McKiernan B, Hauser C, Fettman M (2003) Gentamicin aerosolization for the treatment of infectious tracheobronchitis. Proceedings of the 21st Annual Forum of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 2003.
  • Grauer G (2002) Appropriate use of antimicrobials in urinary tract infections. Proceedings of the 20th Annual Forum of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 2002.
  • Sherding R (2001) Diagnosis and management of bacterial pneumonia. World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress 2001.
  • Wallace M (2001) Diagnosis and medical managment of canine prostatic disease. Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference 2001.
  • AliAbadi F S, Lees P (2000) Antibiotic treatment for animals: effect on bacterial population and dosage regime optimisation. Int J Antimicrob Agents 14, 307-313.
  • Trepanier L, Elliott J (1998) Good prescribing practice. In: Gorman N T, editor. Canine Medicine and Therapeutics. 4th ed. London: Blackwell. pp 3-4.
  • Watson A D J, Elliott J, Maddison J E (1998) Rational use of antibacterial drugs. In: Gorman N T, editor. Canine Medicine and Therapeutics. 4th edn. London: Blackwell. pp 53-72.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

We have an ever growing content library on Vetlexicon so if you ever find we haven't covered something that you need please fill in the form below and let us know!


To show you are not a Bot please can you enter the number showing adjacent to this field