Doxycycline is a widely available tetracycline antibiotic that is used in treating different kinds of infections. It acts by exerting its antibacterial effects through inhibition of synthesis of specific proteins within bacteria. By blocking the synthesis of these proteins, the bacteria are unable to proliferate and therefore die.
In dogs, doxycycline is useful in treating different clinical conditions that are a result of bacterial infection. In this article, we shall briefly review this aspect and also discuss the common side-effects with doxycycline use in dogs.
One of the main advantages of using doxycycline is that it can penetrate the different physiological barriers that are in place within the body of the dog. Some of the common infections that are treated by administering doxycycline dogs include –
- Borrelia burgdorferi - this is responsible for the development of Lyme disease
- Mycoplasma haemofelis - this can cause anaemia in dogs
- Other Mycoplasma species can cause urine infections and chest infections
- Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus intermedius
- Bordatella bronchiseptica - this is responsible for kennel cough
In addition to the above, doxycycline also has a number of different users in other infections. It is often combined with different vitamins in order to enhance its effect.
The doxycycline dosage for dogs varies depending on the clinical condition. As such, the available doses include 20 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg tablets and capsules. Suspensions are also available in similar concentrations and doses.
Side-effects of doxycycline in dogs
The common side-effects that dogs experience after taking doxycycline are nausea and vomiting. If this side effect is severe, the treatment may need to be terminated and alternative drugs may need to be administered. The side-effects wear off as soon as the drug is withdrawn.
Doxycycline forms a part of the tetracycline group of drugs and these drugs have a propensity to bind to calcium. In humans, taking long courses of tetracycline can cause staining of the teeth due to this binding to calcium. In dogs, this effect can occur but doxycycline particularly has a low propensity amongst most of the tetracyclines in causing the side-effect.
In smaller dogs, administering oral doxycycline can be a little difficult as the tablets or capsules may get stuck in the food pipe. If this is the case, administering a suspension would be a better idea. Swallowing difficulties must be looked out for as regular administration of doxycycline tablets which are getting stuck in the throat can cause scarring and long-term difficulty swallowing.
Finally, when administering doxycycline, make sure that your veterinarian is aware of the other medicines that the dog may be taking. This is because drug interactions are common and must be looked out for if they occur. Some of the common drugs that can interact with doxycycline include insulin, antacids and anticoagulant drugs.
Doxycycline is an effective treatment in a variety of different illnesses in dogs. Side-effect profiles are minimal and interactions must be looked out for.