Cephalosporin Antibiotics

Cephalosporin Antibiotics


Cephalexin (Keflex®), cefadroxil (Cefa Tabs® and Cefa Drops®), and cefpodoxime (Simplicef®) are the most commonly prescribed members of a class of antibiotics called cephalosporins.  Cephalosporins are used to treat a variety of bacterial infections, including but not limited to infections of the skin, ears, and bladder.  Infected wounds and abscesses are often treated with cephalosporins.


Cephalosporins are available as pills, capsules, and liquid suspensions.  Compounding pharmacies may be able to prepare palatable liquid or pill formulations to ease administration to pets.  Injectable cephalosporins are commonly used by veterinarians when pets are hospitalized.

Convenia® (cefovecin sodium) is a newly developed cephalosporin that is given b injection. Once administered, the injection is effective for seven to 14 days.

Side Effects

Like all antibiotics, gastrointestinal upset (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite) is the leading side effect of cephalosporins.  The risk of side effects may be reduced by giving the medication with food.  Ask your veterinarian whether this is appropriate for your pet.

The gastrointestinal side effects of cephalosporins generally get worse over time unless the medicine is discontinued.  Therefore, if you suspect that your pet is experiencing side effects, contact your veterinarian immediately.  Do not discontinue any antibiotic without first consulting a veterinarian.

Allergies to cephalosporins are reported rarely in cats and dogs.  Signs of an allergic reaction include skin rashes, weakness, swelling of the face, or difficulty breathing.  If you suspect that your pet is suffering an allergic reaction to any type of cephalosporin, seek immediate veterinary attention.


Pets should be monitored for side effects and for resolution of symptoms.  Unless otherwise instructed by a veterinarian, pets should continue to take the medication until the entire course has been completed.

Any pet that receives a cephalosporin for longer than 14 days may require periodic blood or urine testing.

Copyright © Eric Barchas, DVM All rights reserved.
The contents of this page are provided for general informational purposes only. Under no circumstances should this page be substituted for professional consultation with a veterinarian.