While urinary tract infections (UTIs) are fairly common in dogs, they respond quickly to the correct treatment. Veterinarians usually treat mild UTIs with oral antibiotics. One they frequently prescribe, according to San Francisco veterinarian Eric Barchas, is Clavamox, the veterinary formulation of the antibiotic Augmentin. Clavamox is a broad-spectrum (effective against a broad range of bacteria) antibiotic very useful in combating bone, dental and skin infections as well as E. coli-related UTIs in dogs.
Clavamox (amoxicillin trihydrate/clavulanate potassium) is a combination of the antibiotic amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, introduced in February of 1996 to treat respiratory infections in people. Pfizer introduced Clavamox in July 1998.
Many bacteria have developed resistance to amoxicillin, a member of the penicillin antibiotic family. Amoxicillin, for instance, is ineffective against germs that produce the beta-lactam enzyme. Clavulanic acid inhibits production of this enzyme.
Combining amoxicillin and clavulanic acid to produce Clavamox allowed the amoxicillin to kill beta-lactam producing germs, including those responsible for dog urinary tract infections.
Dogs suffering from E. coli-related urinary tract infections should receive 6.25 mg per lb. of body weight twice daily. Give the medicine by tablet or as drops, with food if necessary. The drops require refrigeration.
Clavamox tablets come in strips of 14 62.5 mg, 125 mg 250 mg and 375 mg tablets for easier dosing. The 62.5 mg tablets are for 10 lb. dogs; the 125 mg for 20 lb. dogs; the 250 mg for 40 lb. dogs; and the 375 mg for 60 lb. dogs. Each strip contains a week's worth of dosages. Always follow your vet's instructions on the correct dosage for your dog.
Give a missed dose as soon as you remember it, unless the time for your pet's next dose is approaching. Otherwise, just skip the missed dose; don't give your pet a double helping of the medicine.
Most dogs need 10 to 14 days of treatment to cure their urinary tract infections. A dog should get the full course of medication even if his symptoms are gone. If the infection does not respond within 30 days, however, discontinue the treatment.
Some dogs may experience nausea and vomiting when given any penicillin-based antibiotic, including Clavamox. Dr. Barchas says giving it with food may reduce the problem.
Dogs severely allergic to penicillin may develop skin rashes and facial swelling, diarrhea, pale gums, shock or coma. Seek veterinary help if your dog has any of these reactions.
Dog owners allergic to penicillin should not handle this medication, because any contact is sufficient to trigger an allergic reaction.