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Minocycline for Dogs, Cats, Horses

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General Drug Information and Indications

Minocycline is a broad spectrum antibiotic which is effective for use against a wide variety of bacteria and other types of organisms. It is particularly useful for some of the more unusual types of infections, including those carried by ticks. Minocycline is available in oral and intravenous forms. Oral minocycline reaches high concentrations in most tissues in the body, even in difficult to penetrate areas such as joints, the prostate, the central nervous system, and the eyes. In addition to its use as an antibiotic, researchers are studying the use of low doses of minocycline as an anti-inflammatory in both dogs and horses with osteo-arthritis. Minocycline may be used in animals with decreased kidney function because it is eliminated primarily via the digestive tract.

Like many other drugs in veterinary medicine, this drug is not FDA approved for use in animals and is not available from a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer. Instead, it is compounded by a specialty pharmacy (What is compounding?).

How to Give this Medication

Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of minocycline, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up.

Minocycline is well absorbed after oral administration and its absorption is only slightly affected by the presence of food in the stomach. Many veterinarians recommend giving the minocycline with food in order to decrease any stomach upset.

Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.

Side Effects

Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.

The most common side effects in dogs and cats are GI upset, including nausea and vomiting. In order to minimize GI side effects, minocycline is frequently given with food.


Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. Minocycline is a prescription drug and should be used according to your veterinarian's directions. It should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person.

Minocycline is a tetracycline antibiotic. Tetracycline antibiotics are generally avoided during pregnancy because of the risk of bone abnormalities and discoloration of teeth in the developing fetuses. Minocycline may pose less risk than other antibiotics in the tetracycline family. You and your veterinarian will need to make a decision based on your pet's medical needs.

There was no information found regarding the use of intravenous minocycline in the horse. But intravenous doxycyline (a very similar drug) is contraindicated in the horse due to risk of fatal heart arrhytmia.

Drug Interactions

Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving.

The following drugs may interfere with your pet's ability to absorb oral minocycline: oral antacids such as "Tums", bismuth products such as "Pepto Bismol", products containing kaolin or pectin such as "Kaopectate", and oral iron. If your pet is being given any of these products and minocycline, the doses should be separated by 2-3 hours.

Minocycline may change blood clotting activity. Pets receiving anticoagulants such as warfarin may need additional monitoring and have their dose adjusted.


If you suspect your pet or another animal was accidentally overdosed or has eaten this medication inadvertently, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.'s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.

If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center at 800.222.1222.


Different strengths or dosage forms of minocycline may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.

Who is Wedgewood Pharmacy and what is compounding?

Wedgewood Pharmacy, located in Swedesboro, New Jersey, is one of the nation's largest compounding pharmacies. We fill prescriptions for compounded medications for veterinary and human-health patients. All medications dispensed from Wedgewood Pharmacy require a prescription from a licensed prescriber. We ship throughout the United States.

Why might your physician or veterinarian prescribe a compounded medication for you or your pet? Compounded medications are prescribed when the practitioner determines that the appropriate treatment is not otherwise available from a pharmaceutical manufacturer or is not available in the strength, dosage form, flavor, or package size the practitioner thinks is necessary for treatment. When your physician or veterinarian calls a prescription into a compounding pharmacy, a pharmacist prepares a medication that meets the individual needs of you or your pet. To learn more about compounding, and when compounded medications might be prescribed, please visit Patients and Professionals for Customized Care

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About the Author

Dr. Barbara Forney

Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.

She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.

Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.