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Doxycycline for Dogs

Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic prescribed by veterinarians to treat infections in dogs. It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic used to treat many bacterial infections, including those caused by ticks. Doxycycline is usually administered orally, and like any antibiotic, it can have side effects. Watch your pets closely while you are giving them antibiotics, and never give leftover medications. Some dogs can be allergic to doxycycline, so your vet may prescribe an alternative antibiotic.

How doxycycline works

This medication inhibits protein synthesis, which alters the cytoplasmic membrane of susceptible organisms.In other words, it reduces the bacteria’s ability to replicate and heal itself. This action weakens the bacteria, allowing the animal’s natural immune system to kill the infection.

Doxycycline is made up of synthetic and natural ingredients. A veterinarian will prescribe this drug for a dog with one of the following issues

  • Respiratory infections that affect your dog’s lungs and airways
  • Urinary tract infections that affect your pet’s bladder and may cause potty accidents
  • Infected wounds
  • Blood infection
  • Kidney infection
  • Tick-borne diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease or Ehrlichiosis
  • Leptospirosis, a bacteria present in soil that can be transmitted to humans

Side effects of doxycycline for dogs

With all medications, there are risks of side effects, drug interactions, and allergies. The most common side effects of doxycycline in dogs are an upset stomach, vomiting, a decrease in appetite, and diarrhea. Some rare side effects consist of changes in blood cells, liver damage, and sun sensitivity.

Allergic reactions

Doxycycline can trigger an allergic reaction in your pet. Knowing your animal’s allergies are important, especially when administering antibiotics. Any sign of hives, face swelling, tongue or lip swelling, or difficulty breathing is a sign of an allergic reaction. Call your veterinarian as soon as possible if the dog has these symptoms.

Drug interactions

Some drugs will interact with doxycycline. The interaction may prevent the antibiotic from working correctly or cause dangerous side effects. Make sure to tell your vet If your dog is currently taking any of the following medications.

  • Upset stomach medications like antacids or bismuth
  • Diarrhea treatments like Kaolin or pectin
  • Antibiotics like penicillin or cephalosporin
  • Aminoglycosides used to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Anticoagulant medications like warfarin
  • Phenobarbital, a pain medication
  • Insulin for treating diabetes
  • Laxatives
  • Calcium, iron, magnesium or zinc supplements

If your dog already takes any of these medications, he or she may be able to continue taking them. However, your vet may recommend a different dosage or medication schedule. If the interaction could be dangerous, your dog may need to take a different medication.

When not to use doxycycline

There are some cases where your dog should not take this particular antibiotic. If the pet is allergic to doxycycline, another form of treatment is necessary. In pregnant dogs, nursing dogs, and puppies under seven months old, using doxycycline is not advisable. Pregnant dogs taking this antibiotic run the risk of giving birth to puppies with deformities. If your dog suffers from liver or kidney problems, a different method of treatment may be required.

Dosage Instructions

Some animals do not do well with medications in pill form; liquid or gel forms may work better in these cases. Most medications are bitter tasting and not very appetizing to any animal. However, there are some ways to administer these drugs to your pet efficiently, such as hiding a pill in a favorite treat.

Never give your dog a dry pill to take. You may need to put in soft food or choose the liquid form. Do not brush the dog’s teeth for two weeks after the first dose of the medication. Avoid giving your dog any dairy while they are on this antibiotic; dairy foods decrease the animal’s ability to absorb and use the drug.

Dosage amounts and schedule

The dosage your pet takes will depend on a variety of things. Your dog’s overall health and any underlying conditions are taken into consideration. It is always important to give medications to your animals correctly. You must follow strict guidelines when administering antibiotics. The recommended dosage is 5-10 mg/kg per day. Never adjust the dosage amount prescribed by the veterinarian. Changing the dosage could be dangerous, and it may take longer for your dog to recover. Doxycycline is absorbed in the canine’s body and can be given with or without food. Some forms of this medication are given by injections or topically.

If your pet misses a dose of antibiotics, give it a dose as soon as possible. If it is already time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and stay on track for the regular treatment schedule. Never give two doses at the same time.  If your animal overdoses, contact your veterinarian immediately. The main symptom of an overdose is gastrointestinal (GI) distress, indicated by diarrhea or vomiting.

Storing and disposing of doxycycline

Storing antibiotics the correct way is important since temperature and humidity can affect the way the medication works. Capsules and tablets should be kept in the original container and in a dry place away from direct heat and sunlight. Do not refrigerate the medication; the antibiotics are good for up to 14 days. Use caution when administering any medications, and keep them out of the reach of children. Unless otherwise directed, you should give the full course of antibiotics to your pet. If there is any left over, call your veterinarian for proper disposal directions. Do not throw any leftover medications in the trash.

Keeping your veterinarian informed

Always be informative to your veterinarian during visits. Keep records of your dog’s health issues, diet, and medication schedules. During the visit, tell the doctor about any medications your pet takes. This includes any prescribed medications or over-the-counter drugs. Your animal’s doctor should also know of any underlying health problems or issues they have had in their lifetime. Allergies are crucial information; if your dog is allergic to the prescription, it could be dangerous.

Do not hesitate to ask questions concerning the doxycycline antibiotic or any other medications you will be giving your pet. It is best to be informed of every aspect rather than misunderstanding the vet’s instructions. Storage and disposal are just as important as the dosage or use of any antibiotic or drug. Write down any side effects your pet experiences, and always follow directions from your veterinarian.

 In an emergency, call your pet’s doctor as soon as possible. If a side effect is bothersome or an allergic reaction happens, stop all medication immediately. Contact your dog’s veterinarian concerning any health issues, and never give old medication to an animal.

Doxycycline tends to work well for bacterial infections in dogs. Pay close attention to your pet during antibiotic treatment. Look for side effects, allergies, and unusual behavior. Keep a good record of these behaviors or side effects for future reference. Keeping yourself well informed and maintaining good records will help your pet live a long, joyful life.

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