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Have you noticed that your cat has watery eyes or colored gunk discharging from in or around their eyes? This may be a sign that your cat has a serious infection best treated by an antibiotic called doxycycline. A veterinarian can look at your cat and determine the right therapy and help guide you in choosing products that may relieve your pet’s anxiety, pain, and discomfort.
WHAT IS DOXYCYCLINE?
Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic used for many types of infections. It is from the tetracycline class of antibiotics. It is one of the only ideal drugs to treat certain tick-borne diseases, although it can effectively treat infections caused by many bacteria.
Brand names include Monodox and Adoxa. Doxycycline is only available by prescription in the United States.
WHAT IS DOXYCYCLINE USED FOR IN CATS
Doxycycline is used in cats to treat Lyme disease, Bartonella, hemoplasma, toxoplasma, chlamydia, anaplasma, and more. These bacteria can cause local or systemic infections. It can also be used in gel form to treat infections in the mouth.
DOXYCYCLINE DOSAGE FOR CATS
Doxycycline is dosed once or twice daily in cats at 5-10mg per kilogram of body weight, or 5-10mg for every 2.2 pounds.
This can be accomplished using either capsules, tablets, or liquid formulations.
DOXYCYCLINE SIDE EFFECTS IN CATS
The use of doxycycline may lead to some unpleasant side effects in cats.
“Dry-pilling” doxycycline in cats (i.e., giving the cat a dose without water) can lead to damaging the esophagus. It is recommended to either use a liquid preparation or ensure that the cat is given water after each dose to prevent this.
Common side effects include nausea and vomiting.
It’s possible that giving a broad-spectrum antibiotic like doxycycline can kill off good bacteria in the cat, leading to fungal or yeast infection.
Doxycycline is relatively inexpensive in human, capsule form. As of the time of writing, a common quantity of doxycycline 100mg capsules can be had from major retailers for $6-$30.
Liquid formulations are more expensive, ranging from $40-$60.
Doxycycline is often compounded into gels or liquid formulations when used in felines and can be flavored to make it easier to dose in a pet. Compounded medication costs vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.
WHERE CAN I GET DOXYCYCLINE FOR CATS?
Since doxycycline for humans is available in 50mg, 100mg, and 150mg capsules and tablets, it is relatively easy to dose cats with human capsules or tablets. This means doxycycline for cats can be very affordable and available at almost any local pharmacy.
If a pet-specific formulation is required, a local pharmacy or veterinarian’s office can supply it, or upon request, a veterinarian can call a prescription in to an online pharmacy like Chewy.
- Medications: Other broad-spectrum antibiotics may be used in place of doxycycline. These can include other tetracyclines (tetracycline, minocycline), amoxicillin, clindamycin, or floxacin antibiotics like enrofloxacin or orbifloxacin.
All these antibiotics require a prescription from a veterinarian for feline use, and a veterinarian is the most qualified professional to correctly diagnose and prescribe curatives for any infection. Doxycycline is the go-to treatment for chlamydophila felis infections, which causes watering, swelling, and partial closing of the eyes, and eventually a colored discharge or pus-looking gunk. One alternative to treating this disease is to prevent it using a vaccine, marketed under the name Nobivac by Merck Animal Health.
- Natural: There are few natural products that can replace an antibiotic. That said, depending on the type of infection, there are natural products that can alleviate symptoms that cause suffering. These should not be used instead of seeking veterinary care or antibiotics – only to treat symptoms and suffering as part of a professionally-guided holistic therapy plan.
- Cannabidiol (CBD): Case reports and scientific studies have shown that high-quality CBD extracts can decrease anxiety and help with several different kinds of pain. Preliminary research shows that CBD may help with certain kinds of tissue healing and recovery.
- Hypochlorous Acid Eye Gel: Mild hypochlorous acid sprays and gels specifically made for pet eyes can be used to help soothe and relieve the symptoms of conjunctivitis (swelling around the eyes) and may in some cases even speed healing by keeping the eye and surrounding tissue clean and making it hard for bacteria to reproduce.