Tetracycline is an antibiotic that is prescribed to treat a variety of bacterial infections.
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.
Like all antibiotics, gastrointestinal upset (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite) is the leading side effect of tetracycline. 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 tetracycline generally get worse over time unless the medicine is discontinued. If you suspect that your pet is experiencing side effects, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not discontinue any antibiotic without first consulting a veterinarian.
Cats appear to suffer side effects of tetracycline more frequently than dogs. In addition to gastrointestinal upset, tetracycline may lead to lethargy or hair loss in cats.
Tetracycline causes discoloration of the teeth if it is given to immature animals. For this reason, tetracycline should be avoided in puppies, kittens, and pregnant dogs and cats.
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 tetracycline for longer than 14 days may require periodic blood or urine testing.
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