Cat owners may often receive medications for their pets without knowing how or why the drugs work. It is helpful to become informed on the proper dosage and administration to better help their ill felines. Amoxicillin, a well-known medicine used to treat a variety of infections, can be prescribed only through a registered veterinarian. The handling of both the medicine and the cat patient, however, usually happens at home, and a general knowledge of what your cat is getting can ease your worries.
What is amoxicillin for cats?
Amoxicillin is a gram positive, penicillinl-ike antibiotic (as opposed to a tetracycline-type antibiotic) commonly prescribed in veterinary offices for cats and dogs worldwide. Because it is relatively low-cost and easy to produce, it has been used for a number of years in small-animal veterinary medicine, and its efficacy in felines is well documented.
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How does amoxicillin work in cats?
Amoxicillin kills staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria by inhibiting cell wall synthesis. It is prescribed for a wide variety of diseases, including ear infections, respiratory infections, and urinary tract infections. It is also used for all manner of skin infections and conditions, such as pyoderma and acute moist dermatitis. An oral medication, amoxicillin is particularly effective for cats because it has proven to be more readily absorbed than other antibiotics and is usually well tolerated.
Forms of amoxicillin for cats
Usually administered orally, amoxicillin can be found in both pill and liquid form. The pills, commonly trademarked under the brand name Amoxi-Tabs, can be found in 50, 100, 150, 200, and 400 milligram tablets. Liquid amoxicillin under the brand name Amoxi-Drop is available in a 50-milligram/milliliter oral suspension. This is the form most often prescribed for cats because of the ease of administration.
Clavamox is amoxicillin that is combined with clavulanate potassium to treat felines who may have become resistant to regular amoxicillin. It is also available in both tablet and liquid forms.
Amoxicillin dosage and duration for cats
The dose of amoxicillin depends on the weight of the cat and the severity of the infection. It can be administered in doses ranging from 6.6 to 20 milligrams of amoxicillin per 2.2 pounds of body weight. That means a 10-pound cat will receive 30 milligrams of medicine two to three times a day according to the veterinarian's directives.
Amoxicillin is given by mouth, whether in tablet form or liquid oral suspension. Measure the liquid form carefully and shake well. It can be given with or without food. If your cat vomits after receiving medication on an empty stomach, give the amoxicillin with food. Make sure to give all required doses for the duration prescribed by your veterinarian, usually 10 to 14 days.
Amoxicillin will begin working within about one to two hours. While effects may not be observable immediately, you should notice improvements in your cat and the symptoms of infection within a few days.
Side effects and risks of amoxicillin in cats
Amoxicillin is usually well tolerated in cats. Although they may spit it out because of the taste, most cats will not suffer from any adverse reaction to either pills or liquid suspension. Allergic reactions are possible but rare. These can be characterized by swelling of the nose or mouth, skin redness, scratching, and labored breathing.
Side effects of amoxicillin can include diarrhea or vomiting, but these reactions are fairly rare in cats. Animals who are allergic to penicillin should not be given amoxicillin. Any of these symptoms should be reported to the veterinarian immediately.
The bottom line
Amoxicillin is an effective antibiotic used to treat a variety of bacterial infections in cats. Dosage of the medication will depend on your cat's body weight. All prescribed doses need to be administered. If your cat shows any sign of allergy to amoxicillin, however, stop the medication and contact your veterinarian immediately.