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Doxycycline for Dogs

By | Last Updated : 8th June 2018

What is doxycycline

Doxycycline is an antibiotic used for treating canine health issues like Rocky Mountain spotted-fever, tick-borne Lyme disease, urinary tract infections, leptospirosis, respiratory infections, chlamydia, ehrlichiosis, psittacosis, infected wounds, as well as blood-borne infections like mycoplasma, and toxoplasmosis [1, 2].

It may also be used to prevent secondary bacterial infections that might occur during the treatment of another infection [2]. Since it is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, it may not help in treating fungal or viral infections [1, 2].

Can dogs safely take doxycycline

Doxycycline, prescribed as an extra-label drug, is usually safe, but should be administered only after consulting a vet [3].

Quick Information

 

Doxycycline for Dogs

Brand name

Vibramycin® [4]

Generic Name (Active ingredient)

Doxycycline [5]

Type

Tetracycline class of broad-spectrum antibiotic [1, 4]

Is it FDA approved

Yes (only for humans) [3, 4]

Availability

On prescription [4]

Who can take it

Dogs, cats [4]

Available forms

100 mg tablets [3, 4]

How does it work in dogs

Doxycycline is effective against various microbes including Dirofilaria immitis (adult heartworms), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella, Serratia, Trueperella, Wolbachia, and E. coli [1].

It works by preventing protein synthesis within the bacteria, slowing down their cell division and growth, gradually resulting in their death [3, 4]. The blocking of protein synthesis in bacteria is a slow process, so the Doxycycline treatment may be done on a long-term basis [4].

In dogs with heartworms, doxycycline kills Wolbachia, the Gram-negative bacteria that live inside heartworms (wherein they play an important role in protecting their host) [9]. It makes adult heartworms weaker, preventing them from reproducing [9].

Doxycycline dosage: how much to give to your dog

Follow the dosage schedule advised by your vet [2] as it may vary depending on the type and duration of the infection being treated [1, 2]. The commonly prescribed dosage is 5-10 mg/kg (2.27-4.53 mg/lb) of a dog’s body weight every 24 hours [1, 7]. Although it may be given without food, administering the medication with food may help in lessening some side effects like vomiting and nausea [2].

Allow your dog to have plenty of water at all times during the entire course of treatment [2]. A small amount of water can be given after the administration of medication if side effects such as breathing or swallowing difficulties occur [2].

If you miss giving a dose, give it as early as possible, unless it is time for its next dose, wherein only the regular dosing schedule should be followed [4].

Possible side effects in dogs

Doxycycline is usually tolerated well by dogs, but some mild GI symptoms like diarrhea (with signs like fever, changes in stool volume, and loss of appetite) [8] and vomiting may commonly occur [1]. Aside from these, dogs administered with Doxycycline may experience the following:

  • Nausea (your dog is drooling, trembling, licking its lips, and breathing quickly) [4, 6]
  • Difficulty swallowing food (storing food in the cheeks, gagging, and regurgitating) [4, 6]
  • Swelling of the lips, face or tongue [6]
  • Hair loss [6]

The gastrointestinal symptoms may become severe in case of a doxycycline overdose [1, 2]. If you observe any of the above, call your vet or get in touch with the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888-426-4435).

When not to give Doxycycline

Tell the vet about any past or current diseases or health conditions in your dog and the medications you are administering. While Doxycycline should not be used in pets that are allergic or hypersensitive to the drug [3], it may need to be used cautiously in dogs that are:

  • Less than seven months old [3]
  • Pregnant or lactating [1, 4]
  • Suffering from some acute liver disease [4]

Doxycycline may interact with antacids, bactericidal, barbiturates, anticoagulants, cathartics, insulin, digoxin, aminophylline, theophylline, sodium bicarbonate, iron dextran, methoxyflurane, and kaolin/pectin [4].

References

    1. Doxycycline for Dogs: Uses and Side Effects – Akc.org
    2. Doxycycline for Dogs: Uses, Dosage, And Side Effects – Dogtime.com
    3. Doxycycline (Vibramycin®) for Dogs and Cats – Petplace.com
    4. Doxycycline – Petmd.com
    5. Vibramycin® (Doxycycline) – Drsfostersmith.com
    6. Doxycycline For Dogs – Everything You Need To Know – Ultimatehomelife.com
    7. Tetracyclines – Merckvetmanual.com
    8. Diarrhea in Dogs: Causes and Treatment – Pets.Webmd.com
    9. Heartworm Drug Shortage Prompts Use of Cheaper, Safer Therapy – Healthypets.mercola.com

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