Treatments

Insulin

Overview

Insulin is a drug that is used in the treatment of diabetes in dogs and cats. It requires special handling and storage, it must be given by injection, and it carries the risk of overdose. Despite these disadvantages, insulin is the most commonly used drug in the treatment of diabetes. Without insulin, most diabetic cats and dogs will suffer severe or fatal complications of the disease.

Form and Storage of Insulin

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Levothyroxine (Soloxine® and Thyro-Tabs®)

Overview

Levothyroxine is used to treat hypothyroidism in dogs. It works by supplementing the dog’s production of thyroid hormone. The effect is temporary. Most dogs with hypothyroidism require lifelong treatment with levothyroxine.

Form

Levothyroxine most commonly is administered as an oral pill once or twice daily.

Side Effects

Side effects of levothryoxine are rare but can include gastrointestinal upset.

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Methimazole (Tapazole®)

Overview

Methimazole is used to treat hyperthyroidism in cats. It works by blocking the thyroid gland from making thyroid hormone. The effect is temporary.  Most cats with hyperthyroidism require lifelong treatment with methimazole unless other, permanent treatment options are pursued. More details on these options are available on the page entitled Hyperthyroidism in Cats.

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Enalapril (Enacard®) and Benazepril (Lotensin®)

Overview

Enalapril and benazepril are related members of a class of drugs called ACE inhibitors. They have similar effects and uses in veterinary medicine.

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Albon® (Sulfadimethoxine)

Overview

In veterinary medicine, sulfadimethoxine is used primarily to treat coccidia (Isospora) in puppies and kittens.  Courses of sulfadimethoxine generally last from 3 to 21 days.

Sulfadimethoxine also may be used as an antibiotic, but this is not common in veterinary medicine.

Sulfadimethoxine is currently considered an inferior treatment option for coccidia.  A different drug, ponazuril, is preferred.

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Antihistamines

Overview

Antihistamines such as hydroxyzine (Atarax®), diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton®) are used in veterinary medicine primarily to treat allergies that cause skin problems. Less often, they are prescribed to prevent carsickness, to treat severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings, or as sedatives.

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Cephalosporin Antibiotics

Overview

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Clindamycin (Antirobe®)

Overview

Clindamycin is a commonly used antibiotic in veterinary medicine.  Clindamycin is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections.   Some of its more common applications include treatment of dental infections, abscesses, infected wounds, and infected bones.

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Doxycycline (Vibramycin®)

Overview

Doxycycline is an antibiotic related to tetracycline.   It is effective against a variety of organisms, and is often used to treat bacterial infections. It is the antibiotic of choice for many diseases (such as Lyme disease) that are spread by ticks and some diseases caused by organisms known as Mycoplasma.  It is commonly employed in the treatment of respiratory infections and fever of unknown origin in cats.

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Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

Overview

Fluoroquinolones are powerful antibiotics that are commonly prescribed for pets.  They are used to treat infections of the skin, bladder, ears, kidneys, lungs (pneumonia), and prostate. Fluoroquinolones are prescribed many other types of infections as well.

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Furosemide (Lasix®)

Overview

Furosemide is a medication that is commonly prescribed for heart disease in dogs and cats.  It is infrequently used to treat other medical conditions, including high blood pressure or, rarely, certain kidney and urinary disorders.

Furosemide is in a class of medications called diuretics.  Medications in this class work by causing increased urine production.

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Cimetidine (Tagamet®), Ranitidine (Zantac®), and Famotidine (Pepcid®)

Overview

Cimetidine, ranitidine, and famotidine are related medicines.   They are in a class of drugs called H2 blockers.  They have similar effects and uses in veterinary medicine.

H2 blockers cause decreased production of stomach acid.   In pets, these medicines are prescribed mainly to treat or prevent gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of appetite).  They also may be used to prevent or treat ulcers or irritation of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.

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Mineral Oil-Based Laxatives and Hairball Remedies ( Including Laxatone® and Petromalt®)

Overview

Laxatone® and Petromalt® are commonly prescribed to prevent and eliminate hairballs in cats.  They are laxatives that promote the passage of intestinal contents through the rectum as feces.  Although the two products (and other, similar products) primarily are marketed as hairball remedies, they also are used to treat and prevent constipation.

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Prednisone, Cortisone and other Steroids

Overview

Corticosteroids are a class of medicines related to cortisone.  Cortisone is a naturally occurring hormone.

Corticosteroids should not be confused with anabolic steroids.  Anabolic steroids promote body and muscle growth.  Corticosteroids are used in pets to treat inflammation, allergies, itching, immune system irregularities, pain, back or spinal trauma, and eye, ear, or skin problems.

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Lactulose

Overview

Lactulose is a very effective laxative that is commonly used in veterinary medicine.   It is frequently used in the treatment and prevention of constipation in pets.

Lactulose also is used to treat some types of liver disease. 

Form

Lactulose is available as a liquid suspension for oral administration.  Lactulose may be administered as an enema by veterinarians.

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Metronidazole (Flagyl®)

Overview

Metronidazole has several uses in veterinary medicine.  It is effective against Giardia parasites.  It is employed in the treatment of many forms of diarrhea, including diarrhea caused by colitis and inflammatory bowel disease.   It aids in the treatment of certain liver disorders.  Metronidazole is an antibiotic that may be used in the treatment of certain types of bacterial infections.

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Amoxicillin, Clavamox®, and other Penicillins

Overview

Penicillin was the first clinically applied antibiotic in medicine, and compounds related to it are in wide use today.  Amoxicillin and Clavamox® (also known as amoxicillin-clavulanate or Augmentin®) are frequently prescribed for home use in cats and dogs. The two medicines are related.  Clavamox® is more potent than amoxicillin.

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PPA (Phenylpropanolamine)

Overview

PPA is used in the treatment of hormone-based urinary incontinence in dogs.  In most cases, incontinence resolves for a period of 8 – 24 hours after administration.  PPA works by increasing the muscle tone of the urethra.

Form

PPA is administered orally.  Palatable pills are readily available.

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Tetracycline (Panmycin®)

Overview

Tetracycline is an antibiotic that is prescribed to treat a variety of bacterial infections.

Form

Tetracycline is administered orally.   It is available as a pill or a liquid suspension. Compounding pharmacies may be able to produce palatable formulations of tetracycline to ease administration to pets.

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