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Gentamicin (Gentocin®)

By: Dr. Mark Papich

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Overview

  • Gentamicin is an antibiotic that inhibits bacteria by suppressing protein synthesis and growth. Through this mechanism, gentamicin kills bacteria rapidly.
  • Gentamicin belongs to a general class of drugs known as aminoglycosides. Other related drugs in this class include neomycin, amikacin, tobramycin and kanamycin).
  • Gentamicin is effective against a wide range of bacteria. It is effective against bacteria that infect the bloodstream, respiratory tract, skin, sinuses, ear canal and bladder.
  • Gentamicin is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • Gentamicin is available for injection and topical use (such as skin or eye infections).

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans and animals.
  • Human formulations: Garamycin® (Schering), Jenamicin® (Hauck) and various generics
  • Veterinary formulations: Gentocin® (Schering) and various generics

    Uses of Gentamicin

  • Gentamicin is used in both dogs and cats to treat or prevent bacterial infections including respiratory infections, wound infections, pneumonia, bloodstream infections, bladder infections and infections of the skin and ear.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, gentamicin can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Gentamicin should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • The most serious adverse effect from gentamicin and others in this class of drugs is damage to the kidneys. This effect is related to duration of dose and the condition of the kidneys prior to treatment. (The longer the duration of treatment, the more likely this problem is to occur.) Therefore, the status of the health of the kidneys must be assessed before gentamicin is administered to animals.
  • Animals should not receive gentamicin if they are dehydrated or have other diseases that may risk the health of their kidneys.
  • Gentamicin and other aminoglycosides can cause loss of hearing (ototoxicity) in animals or loss of balance (vestibulotoxicity).
  • High doses can cause muscle paralysis.
  • Do not administer topically if there is evidence of skin sensitivity to the compound (redness, irritation, itching).
  • Gentamicin may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with gentamicin.
  • When gentamicin is applied topically, such as on the eyes or in the ears, it is poorly absorbed; adverse reactions, described above, may be minimized with this application.

    How Gentamicin Is Supplied

  • Gentamicin is available in a 100 mg/ml injectable solution.
  • Gentamicin is available in a wide variety of topical solutions for treatment of superficial eye infections or ear solutions for infections in the ear.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The usual dose in dogs is 5 to 7 mg per pound (10 to 15 mg/kg) every 24 hours by intravenous, intramuscular or subcutaneous administration.
  • The usual dose for cats 3 to 4 mg per pound (5 to 8 mg/kg) once daily by intravenous, intramuscular or subcutaneous administration.
  • When applied topically, the dose and frequency depends on the type of condition being treated. Gentamicin is usually applied two or three times daily.
  • 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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