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Tetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic from the same family as oxytetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, and others. The tetracycline antibiotics are bacteriostatic. Their mechanism of action is through the reversible binding of bacterial 30S ribosomes and the alteration of the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane. Tetracycline antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections due to aerobic, gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, mycoplasma, rickettsiae, chlamydia, and some protozoa. Doxycycline and minocycline have greater lipid solubility than tetracycline and may be more effective against some Staphylococcal infections. Certain gram-negative bacteria, particularly Pseudomonas and some enteric bacteria, are resistant to tetracycline.
Tetracycline is well-absorbed after oral administration, although the presence of food, and particularly dairy products, will reduce oral absorption. Tetracycline is excreted through the kidneys and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Tetracycline antibiotics are widely distributed throughout the body, although therapeutic levels may not be reached in the central nervous system. Doxycycline and minocycline may reach higher levels in some of the ore difficult to penetrate tissues such as the prostate and eye.
Oral tetracycline is used in dogs and cats to treat susceptible bacterial infections and infections due to other susceptible organisms. Tetracycline has some immunomodulatory properties and may be used with steroids and niacinamide to treat cutaneous discoid lupus erythematosus of dogs. When used to treat autoimmune disease, there may be a considerable lag (one to two months) before appreciable improvement is seen.
Ophthalmic tetracycline is used to treat Chlamydial, Mycoplasma, and non-specific conjunctivitis in the cat. Although topical ophthalmic tetracycline is useful for improving the clinical signs associated with Chlamydia, systemic treatment with doxycycline may be necessary to eliminate the organism.
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.
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This content is intended for counseling purposes only. This content is informational/educational and is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or patient. No claims are made as to the safety or efficacy of mentioned preparations. The compounded medications featured in this content have been prescribed and/or administered by prescribers who work with Wedgewood Pharmacy. You are encouraged to speak with your prescriber as to the appropriate use of any medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy’s compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.