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Oxytetracycline (Terramycin®, Liquamycin®)

By: Dr. Mark Papich

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Overview

  • Oxytetracycline is an antibiotic that inhibits bacteria by suppressing protein synthesis and growth.
  • Oxytetracycline belongs to a general class of drugs known as tetracyclines. Other related drugs in this class include doxycycline, tetracycline and minocycline.
  • Oxytetracycline is effective against a wide range of bacteria as well as one-celled (protozoa) organisms. It is effective against bacteria that infect the eyes, oral cavity, bone, respiratory tract, sinuses and blood cells.
  • Oxytetracycline 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 other than livestock 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 and animals.
  • Human formulations: Terramycin® (Pfizer), Uri-Tet® (American Urologicals) and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulation: Terramycin® (Pfizer), Liquamycin® (Pfizer) and various generic preparations

    Uses of Oxytetracycline

  • Oxytetracycline is used in both dogs and cats to treat bacterial infections, including respiratory infections of the sinuses, wound infections, pneumonia, infections of the oral cavity and infections of the blood cells.
  • Tetracyclines are considered the drug of choice for blood cell and tick-borne infections in dogs such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and feline infectious anemia(hemobartonellosis). However, the most common first choice for these infections is doxycycline.
  • Oxytetracycline also has been used to treat protozoa infections (one-celled organisms) in animals.
  • It is also used to treat conjunctivitis, particularly in cats.
  • Oxytetracycline is not effective against infections caused by parasites (intestinal worms), mites, viruses or fungi.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, oxytetracycline can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Oxytetracycline should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • At high doses, oxytetracycline may decrease appetite and cause stomach and intestine problems.
  • Oxytetracycline may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with oxytetracycline. Such drugs include oral antacids.
  • The most frequent concern in people from administration of tetracyclines is that it will affect bone and teeth development in children. Oxytetracycline and other tetracyclines can discolor the teeth in young animals. Do not administer until the adult teeth have fully erupted.
  • High doses of oxytetracycline can cause kidney injury.
  • Oxytetracycline should be avoided in pregnant animals as liver problems may occur.

    How Oxytetracycline Is Supplied

  • Oxytetracycline is available in a 250 mg capsule, and 50 mg/ml, 100 mg/ml, 125 mg/ml and 200 mg/ml solution for injection.
  • The eye ointment is combined with polymyxin B in a 3.5 mg tube.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The usual dose is 10 mg per pound (20 mg/kg) every 12 hours orally in both dogs and cats.
  • The usual injection dose is 5 mg per pound (10 mg/kg) every 24 hours intramuscularly.
  • The eye ointment formulation is applied to the eyes three to four 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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