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Terramycin for Cats

By | Last Updated: 23rd February 2023

What is Terramycin used for

Terramycin is a topical antibiotic ophthalmic ointment used for treating inflammatory eye conditions, and other infectious eye diseases like conjunctivitis, pink eye, keratitis, and corneal ulcer, caused by gram positive and gram negative bacteria in pets [1, 2]. It may as well be prescribed for some fungal infections [1].

Is Terramycin safe for cats

The FDA has approved it for external use in cats and dogs [3, 6]. It is generally well-tolerated by cats [5] and may be applied safely after consulting a vet.

Quick Information


Terramycin for Cats

Generic name: Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride [5, 7]

Brand name: Terramycin® [4]

Type: Tetracycline class antibiotic [1]

Active ingredients: Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride, Polymyxin B Sulfate [3]

FDA approved: Yes [3]

Availability: Over-the-counter in all the US states (prescription medicine in California) [3]

Who can take it: Cats, dogs[5]

Available forms: Ophthalmic ointment (3.5 mg tube) [4, 7]

How does Terramycin (Oxytetracycline) work in cats

This broad-spectrum antibiotic ointment, with its antimicrobial property, suppresses protein synthesis in bacteria, thereby preventing their division and growth within the host [3, 4].

Terramycin dosage for cats: how much to give

Follow the dosage guidelines as prescribed by your vet. A thin film of the ophthalmic ointment may be applied to the affected eye 2-4 times a day [3, 5].

How to apply the ointment to your cat

As it has to be applied inside the eyelids, it is absolutely essential that you talk to your vet about the right way of application. Basically, you need to hold the tube in one hand and pull the lower eyelid of your cat with the other hand so that the ointment can be applied there. Then, once the cat closes its eyes, the medicine can spread.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Before application, gently clean your cat’s eyes with a washcloth dipped in warm water [8].
  • While applying, do not let the tube nozzle touch the cat’s eyes or your hands to prevent it from becoming contaminated, and causing the infection to spread further [3, 8].

Continue the ointment for as long as prescribed by the vet. The duration depends on the effectiveness of the treatment.

Possible side effects

Like all antibiotics, application of the ointment may cause an overgrowth of non-susceptible microbes, including certain fungi (e.g., Monilia) and bacteria (e.g., Staphylococci) [3]. If a new infection occurs in your cat during the treatment, contact your vet.

Other than the above, topical Terramycin may cause minimal side effects including minor irritation or redness at the application site [1]. Allergic reactions are rare, and may include:

  • Facial swelling [1, 3]
  • Rash, hives, itching [1, 3]
  • Labored breathing (nasal flaring, grunting) [1]

Cardiovascular collapse or anaphylaxis (your cat losing consciousness, breathing heavily, bluish discoloration of mucous membranes and the skin) may occur in cats allergic to tetracycline-class of medicines [1]. Call the vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Helpline (1-888-426-4435) if you notice any adverse health effects.

Contraindications: When not to apply Terramycin to your cat

Tell your veterinarian about any health conditions your cat may be suffering from, especially if there is any kidney or liver disease, as it has to be used with caution in such cases [4]. Additionally, Terramycin is not usually prescribed for cats that are:

  • Allergic to tetracycline class of drugs [4]
  • Pregnant since it may cause liver problems [4]

Also, make sure to tell your vet if you are already giving any medicines to your cat. Terramycin may cause drug interactions and should not be used if your cat is on oral antacids [4].


    1. Terramycin for a Cat – Pets.thenest.com
    2. Terramycin® Ophthalmic Ointment (Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride)  – Zoetisus.com
    3. Terramycin Ophthalmic Ointment – 1800petmeds.com
    4. Oxytetracycline (Terramycin®, Liquamycin®)  for Dogs and Cats – Petplace.com
    5. Terramycin Ophthalmic Ointment (Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride) – 3.5g – Pharmacygeoff.md
    6. Terramycin Antibiotic Ophthalmic Ointment – Drsfostersmith.com
    7. Using Oxytetracycline HCL (Terramycin Powder) – Petcarerx.com
    8. Applying Eye Ointments to Cats – Vcahospitals.com

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