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Erythromycin to Treat Bacterial Infections in Pets

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By Evan Ware, DVM

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Basic Information

Erythromycin is a narrow-spectrum antibiotic used by veterinarians to treat very specific types of bacterial infections in dogs, cats, and other animals. It is available only with a prescription from a veterinarian.

Veterinary Medicine Uses for Erythromycin

Erythromycin is effective against certain types of infection, as the medication suppresses the protein synthesis and growth of bacteria cells, which eventually leads to the death of the bacteria. Common uses for Erythromycin include treating pneumonia, tick-borne infections like Lyme Disease, sinus infections, wound infections, skin infections, bone infections, and certain other types of bacterial infections.

Erythromycin is not effective against infections that are caused by fungi, viruses, or parasites.

Potential Side-Effects of Erythromycin

Since Erythromycin kills bacteria, it can cause some animals to experience diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite. This is normal and usually results from temporarily disrupting the naturally occurring bacteria within the intestine.

If your pet has trouble breathing, hives or skin rash, or a swollen face, tongue or lips, contact your veterinarian immediately, as these signs point to the possibility of an allergic reaction.

Drug Interactions with Erythromycin

Erythromycin is an appropriate treatment option when prescribed by a veterinarian. However, if your pet is taking other medications, discuss them with your veterinarian to prevent a possible drug-interaction. Erythromycin can interact with such medications as clindamycin, lincomycin, tylosin, azithromycin, chloramphenicol, theophylline, and digoxin.

Conversely, drugs like rifampin and sulfa-class antibiotics will increase the effectiveness of Erythromycin.

Precautions for Using Erythromycin

Erythromycin should never be administered to a pet with a known allergy to the medication. It should also be avoided in pregnant animals.

Erythromycin can be toxic to smaller animals like guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, and hamsters, and therefore, should not be given to them. Similarly, this antibiotic should not be prescribed for cattle or adult horses.

Dosage and Administration of Erythromycin

For the drug to work as intended, it is essential to follow the prescription and complete the full course of treatment. If treatment is stopped before all the medication has been administered, the risk of relapse increases.

One of the dosage forms available for Erythromycin is an oral suspension. Wedgewood Pharmacy's oral suspensions and solutions are familiar and convenient dosage forms. Oral suspensions and solutions can be administered directly into the mouth using a dosing syringe or mixed with a small amount of food. They offer a wide range of flavoring options and flexible dosing adjustments.

Many strengths of Erythromycin Oral Suspension are available, ranging from 5 mg/ml to 250 mg/ml.

Other Dosage-Forms Available

Erythromycin also is available in these compounded dosage forms. Different strengths may be available for different dosage forms.

  • Capsule
  • Oral Oil Suspension
  • Oral Paste
  • Oral Powder

Available Flavors

Anchovy; Apple; Apple/Molasses; Bacon; Bacon/Beef; Bacon/Marshmallow; Banana; Banana/Marshmallow; Beef/Chicken; Beef/Marshmallow; Butterscotch; Butterscotch/Marshmallow; Butterscotch/Vanilla; Cherry; Cherry-Vanilla; Chicken & Liver; Chicken, natural; Chicken-Marshmallow; Chicken-Vanilla; Duck; Fish; Fish/Marshmallow; Half Fish; Liver/Marshmallow; Marshmallow/Peanut Butter; Marshmallow/Vanilla Butternut; Molasses-Peanut Butter; Peppermint; Strawberry; Triple-Fish; Tutti Frutti; Tutti Frutti/Marshmallow; Vanilla/Marshmallow; Venison and Venison/Marshmallow.

About the Author

Dr. Evan Ware

Dr. Evan Ware is a veterinary practitioner in Phoenix, Arizona. He received both his undergraduate degree in microbiology and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Ware is currently the Medical Director of University Animal Hospital (VCA) and is also the owner of two other hospitals, including Laveen Veterinary Center and Phoenix Veterinary Center. His areas of interest include orthopedic medicine and surgery, veterinary oncology and chemotherapy, and general and advanced soft-tissue surgery.