Home Cat Antibiotics For Cats: Overview, Dosage, & Aspect Results

Antibiotics For Cats: Overview, Dosage, & Aspect Results

Antibiotics For Cats: Overview, Dosage, & Aspect Results


Veterinary hands gently holding a beautiful cat in a veterinary clinic

Antibiotics for cats are a vital device for treating infections and serving to sick cats heal. There are a lot of totally different courses and varieties of antibiotics, which could be complicated. Learn on to learn how your vet decides which antibiotic to make use of and when, study suggestions for getting your cat to take an antibiotic, what unwanted side effects to look out for, and extra.

About Antibiotics For Cats

An antibiotic is a medicine that has the power to kill micro organism or cease their progress. Some individuals consider that antibiotics can be utilized for any kind of an infection, however that is incorrect. Infections may also be attributable to viruses, fungi, and protozoal organisms, which can’t be handled with antibiotics.

The time period antibiotic is reserved for drugs used for bacterial infections. Antivirals, antifungals, and antiprotozoals are the varieties of drugs we use for infections attributable to the opposite three courses of microorganisms.

Pet homeowners with sick cats incessantly ask, “Does my cat want an antibiotic?” To reply that query, it’s at all times vital to know if a bacterial an infection is definitely current versus an an infection attributable to one other organism like a virus. It’s true that some antibiotics may additionally have exercise towards a number of of those different varieties of organisms, however that is the exception fairly than the rule and antibiotics shouldn’t be used if a bacterial an infection just isn’t current.

Widespread Makes use of For Antibiotics For Cats

Antibiotics could also be used for all kinds of bacterial infections relying on the place they’re situated.

Pores and skin an infection: A pores and skin an infection refers to bacterial overgrowth on the pores and skin that may result in hair loss, purple rashes, and crusty flaky pores and skin amongst different signs. These infections can happen anyplace on the physique. Infections attributable to fungal yeast are generally current on the similar time.

Urinary tract an infection (UTI): The decrease urinary tract consists of the bladder and urethra, which exits the physique. The higher urinary tract consists of the kidneys and the tubes that join them to the bladder referred to as the ureters. Bacterial infections usually begin within the decrease urinary tract however can work their means upward to the kidneys if untreated. Different circumstances not attributable to bacterial an infection, like feline idiopathic cystitis, can usually appear like a UTI.

Respiratory an infection: The higher respiratory tract entails the nostril, throat, and higher airway. The lungs compose the decrease respiratory tract. Antibiotic decisions is perhaps totally different relying on whether or not the higher or decrease tract is affected. Viral infections in cats attributable to feline herpesvirus (FHV) and feline calicivirus (FCV) can usually look much like bacterial infections.

Surgical procedure: There are a lot of surgical procedures, like a spay (ovariohysterectomy) surgical procedure for instance, thought of to be sterile procedures. Nice consideration is taken to make sure the surgical procedure website is freed from bacterial progress by eradicating any fur within the space and prepping with topical antiseptics. Nevertheless, antibiotics may nonetheless be used if an space can’t be cleaned adequately (like a foot) or if there’s a excessive concern for an infection after surgical procedure (orthopedic surgical procedures, gastrointestinal surgical procedures, and wound repairs).

Gastrointestinal upset: Some diarrhea is attributable to overgrowth of detrimental micro organism within the GI tract, like clostridial micro organism or E. coli. That is thought of a quite common contributing issue to diarrhea in lots of pets.

Dental infections: Micro organism usually reside within the mouth. With out good dental care, micro organism may cause injury to the gums and their connections to the enamel. Tooth roots can develop infections and abscesses.

Wounds: It is not uncommon for cats to get into fights with one another, particularly cats that go outdoor. Cats harbor a lot of nasty micro organism of their mouths and chew wounds are a typical supply of an infection. Different wounds from different varieties of trauma may also simply get contaminated by micro organism from the pores and skin or surrounding surroundings.

Sorts Of Antibiotics

Veterinarian preparing an antibiotic for administration to a sick cat

Completely different courses of antibiotics deal with various kinds of micro organism.

As an alternative of particular antibiotics, we’re going to overview a number of courses of antibiotics which might be generally used for cats. Inside every class, there are often a number of particular antibiotics which might be generally used.

Penicillins: Amoxicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanate (Clavamox)

Amoxicillin is without doubt one of the most generally used antibiotics and is FDA permitted for cats. Amoxicillin is indicated for a lot of various kinds of bacterial infections, together with urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, pores and skin infections, and wounds. Amoxicillin-clavulanate (Clavamox) has enhanced capability towards extra micro organism common amoxicillin doesn’t. This makes it a extra widespread alternative comparatively.

Cephalosporins: Cephalexin, cefpodoxime, cefovecin sodium (Convenia)

Cephalosporins are most frequently used for infections of the pores and skin. Cephalexin and cefpodoxime are extra usually utilized in canines and are labeled for them, however can be utilized off-label in cats. Cefpodoxime might need extra success when used for urinary tract infections.

Due to their small measurement and infamous issue taking an oral pill, the long-acting injectable Convenia is mostly used for cats. Whereas solely labeled to be used towards some pores and skin infections and wounds, vets may use it off-label for a lot of varieties of infections, together with these of the urinary tract and respiratory tract. Convenia is given as an injectable below the pores and skin and lasts for 2 weeks.

Lincosamides: Clindamycin

Clindamycin is usually used for infections of the pores and skin and mouth and FDA permitted for this use in cats. It additionally has exercise towards the protozoal organism Toxoplasma gondii that causes toxoplasmosis.

Tetracyclines: Doxycycline

Doxycycline is utilized in circumstances of some higher respiratory infections particularly when attributable to Mycoplasma felis or Chlamydia felis. Additionally it is efficient towards Bordetella, a reason for kennel cough in canines, which cats may uncommonly choose up. Doxycycline is the treatment of alternative for what are referred to as rickettsial micro organism. These kinds of micro organism are most related to fleas, ticks, and causes of anemia. These embrace Mycoplasma haemofelis, echrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and bartonellosis. Doxycycline may additionally be used to deal with the protozoal organism Toxoplasma gondii that causes toxoplasmosis.

Fluoroquinolones: Enrofloxacin (Baytril), orbifloxacin (Orbax), pradofloxacin (Veraflox), marbofloxacin (Zeniquin)

This class of antibiotics has a broad spectrum of protection however is taken into account the next tier of antibiotic to make use of. Some veterinarians may reserve use until one other alternative, like Convenia or Clavamox, are ineffective. They’re used for infections of the pores and skin, urinary tract, respiratory tract or anyplace the micro organism concerned are thought of prone.

Orbax, Veraflox, and Zeniquin all carry labels to be used in cats and may to a point be used interchangeably for comparable varieties of infections.

Baytril has each an injectable and oral type, however solely the oral type is permitted to be used in cats. There’s a dose restriction in cats due to concern for unwanted side effects, so one of many different fluoroquinolones is often most well-liked.

Aminoglycosides: Gentamicin, amikacin

This class of antibiotics is basically solely used for injectable remedies and shouldn’t have oral varieties. They do carry issues for kidney toxicity and are used not often in cats until the danger of a prone an infection outweighs the danger of unwanted side effects.

Gentamicin may additionally be present in some topical ointment merchandise together with an antifungal and steroid. Though poisonous results from this kind are unlikely, care must be taken to not let a cat lick an ointment or cream containing gentamicin.

Each amikacin and gentamicin are included in some antimicrobial eye ointments or options.

Macrolides: Azithromycin (Zithromax)

Azithromycin has some broad spectrum exercise for quite a lot of infections however is most frequently used within the case of some higher respiratory infections. Its use is at all times off-label in cats.

It is perhaps reserved for infections not conscious of different antibiotic decisions. Its immune-modulating and anti inflammatory results have made it a alternative for treating cats with power nasal and sinus infections (rhinosinusitis).

Azithromycin has extra exercise towards Bartonella and a few protozoal parasite circumstances like toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, and cytauxzoonosis.


Metronidazole could also be used for infections of the gastrointestinal tract. It is also suspected to have an immune-modulating impact to elucidate its profit for some causes of diarrhea and a few cats with inflammatory bowel illness.

Metronidazole is efficient towards micro organism that don’t require oxygen to thrive, that are referred to as anaerobes. Moreover being current within the gastrointestinal tract, anaerobes can also contribute to infections of the liver and gallbladder.

Antibiotic Dose In Cats

Veterinarian administering oral pills to a cat

All the time comply with the dosing directions and end the treatment utterly, even when your cat appears to be doing higher after a number of days.

Antibiotic dosing can fluctuate a terrific deal relying on the antibiotic getting used and the kind of an infection being handled. Some antibiotics are labeled for cats and have a particular FDA-approved dose to make use of, but it surely may nonetheless be a distinct dose or size of time relying on the explanation to be used.

Different antibiotics won’t have a label to be used in cats however may nonetheless be prescribed by a veterinarian if indicated. That is referred to as off-label use and is quite common in veterinary medication. In these circumstances, vets decide dose primarily based on drug formularies and revealed analysis.

Due to a excessive concern about bacterial resistance to antibiotics and inappropriate use of them, the dedication to make use of an antibiotic is on the discretion of a veterinarian. In lots of circumstances, your vet would require that your cat be examined to verify a bacterial an infection is current. Generally additional testing is perhaps wanted, akin to a urine pattern, stool pattern, or microscope slide impression of the pores and skin to confirm bacterial presence.

Though much less widespread, your vet may need to acquire a bacterial tradition if there’s concern that bacterial resistance to antibiotics is concerned. A bacterial tradition helps decide what particular bacterial pressure is current and what antibiotics to make use of.

How To Administer An Antibiotic To Cats

Many antibiotics are given orally by mouth. They’ll are available in pill, capsule, or liquid type.

For some antibiotics, like clindamycin or amoxicillin, a pill or liquid type is offered for each. On this case, your vet might need you select which type can be simpler to present your cat.

For another antibiotics, like doxycycline, a pill type is the one kind commercially obtainable.

Antibiotics are most frequently given with meals until you’re directed in any other case by your vet. This helps with absorption of the antibiotic by the physique. It additionally helps cut back the prospect of abdomen upset.

For tablets and capsules, it may be useful to attempt hiding an antibiotic in meals or a deal with. Listed here are some cats meals which may work finest for medicating your cat.

If hiding treatment in meals just isn’t working nicely, you may want to present an antibiotic to your cat straight by mouth. This generally is a little daunting, however listed here are some suggestions to assist in giving oral treatment to your cat.

In some circumstances, if an antibiotic doesn’t are available in a liquid type usually and this kind will work higher in your cat, your vet may be capable to order a liquid type by a compounding pharmacy. Doxycycline is a good instance of the place this is perhaps crucial. Compounding pharmacies may also assist make flavored tablets or chewable drugs.

Widespread Aspect Results Of Antibiotics In Cats

Many cats do very nicely with antibiotics and don’t present vital unwanted side effects. Their an infection is gone and so they really feel higher!

However some unwanted side effects are widespread to see. These are often related to gastrointestinal upset, digestion, and urge for food:

These kinds of unwanted side effects are vital to let your vet find out about. Relying on how vital the antibiotic therapy is and the severity of the unwanted side effects, your vet may both prescribe different drugs to assist with the aspect impact signs, or advise discontinuing the antibiotic.

Unusual Aspect Results

Veterinarian measuring the body temperature of a cat

Though uncommon, some cats expertise severe unwanted side effects from antibiotics, together with fever, hives or issue respiratory.

Extra severe unwanted side effects are thought of very uncommon however may embrace:

  • Hives
  • Pores and skin irritation or itching
  • Respiration issue
  • Fever

In the event you see any unwanted side effects like these, make an instantaneous go to to your vet or nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

When you’ve got concern about seeing unwanted side effects after giving your cat an antibiotic dose, or in case you have concern about an overdose, ensure to contact:

Steadily Requested Questions

Can I get antibiotics for my cat with out seeing my vet?

Typically not. There are a lot of circumstances that may carefully mimic a bacterial an infection. Examples embrace viral higher respiratory infections and stress-related inappropriate urinary conduct. Your vet will look to verify a bacterial an infection is current earlier than prescribing antibiotics and this usually requires an examination and generally extra testing.

Though fish amoxicillin could be bought over-the-counter and a few individuals really feel that is a straightforward workaround, that is inappropriate and never secure for cats. This type of amoxicillin just isn’t supposed for oral ingestion and there’s much less stringent high quality management or regulation concerned with its manufacture.

Can I give my cat my very own antibiotics?

You shouldn’t give your cat your personal antibiotics. Some antibiotics used for individuals won’t be secure or applicable for cats. The antibiotic dose for an individual is commonly be increased than what a cat would require, and giving your personal antibiotic dose may result in extra pronounced unwanted side effects. You additionally don’t know that the antibiotic you may have is acceptable for the kind of an infection your cat has. Your cat may additionally not have a bacterial an infection and may require a distinct therapy altogether.

Will antibiotics assist a sick cat?

Antibiotics will assist a sick cat if that cat has a bacterial an infection. The antibiotic should even be applicable for the kind of bacterial an infection a cat has.

What if I miss a dose of an antibiotic for my cat?

In the event you miss a dose of antibiotic in your cat, attempt to give the following dose as near when it was due as doable. For instance, in case you miss a dose of a 12-hour antibiotic by an hour or two, it would nonetheless be finest to present that dose . Nevertheless, in case you’ve missed that dose by six or eight hours, it is perhaps higher to attend and provides the following dose when it’s due. 

If giving a 24-hour antibiotic, nonetheless contemplate giving a missed dose until it’s greater than eight to 12 hours overdue. In the event you missed giving it within the morning and provides the following dose that night time, proceed giving future doses as soon as a day at night time as an alternative.



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