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Doxycycline (Vibramycin®)

By: Dr. Mark Papich

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  • Doxycycline is an antibiotic of the tetracycline class. This drug is related to other tetracyclines such as chlortetracycline and oxytetracycline.
  • Doxycycline will inhibit the synthesis of protein within susceptible organisms (bacteria, etc.), resulting in their death.
  • Doxycycline is often used for infections caused by bacteria and by microorganisms that are not susceptible to common antibiotics.
  • Doxycycline is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Vibramycin® (Pfizer), Monodox® (Oclassen), Doryx® (Parke-Davis) and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Doxycycline

  • Doxycycline is an antibiotic used to treat infections in animals caused by susceptible bacteria.
  • Examples of these infections include urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, blood-borne infections and wound infections.
  • Doxycycline is especially useful for treating tick-borne bacterial diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and water-borne infections such as leptospirosis.
  • Doxycycline is also used to treat Wolbachia, an organism that infects heartworms, in an effort to treat heartworm disease.
  • Doxycycline is not effective for treating infections caused by a virus or fungus.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, doxycycline can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Doxycycline should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Doxycycline may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with doxycycline. Such drugs include certain antacids, iron supplements, kaolin, bismuth subsalicylate and certain antibiotics.
  • Occasionally vomiting has been observed, especially when high doses are administered.
  • Rarely, animals may develop diarrhea or loose stools from oral doxycycline. This is related to a change in the bacterial population in the animal's intestine. If diarrhea is observed, your veterinarian should be notified, and a change in medication may be indicated.
  • Doxycycline may bind to calcium in teeth and cause discoloration. Therefore, the administration of doxycycline to animals younger than seven months of age is discouraged without first consulting with a veterinarian.
  • Doxycycline should not be administered orally with calcium or calcium-containing medications because they may inhibit oral absorption of the antibiotic.

    How Doxycycline is Supplied

  • Doxycycline is available as 100 mg tablets, 10 mg/ml oral liquid suspension and as a solution for injection.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The typical dose administered to animals is 2.5 mg per pound (5 mg/kg) every 12 hours orally.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.

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