Erythromycin for Dogs in Dogs

Erythromycin for Dogs
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Erythromycin for Dogs

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Erythromycin is an antibiotic that is used to treat a narrow range of bacteria and other microorganisms. The advantage of erythromycin is that it can reach some parts of the body that other antibiotics can’t, such as the prostate and urinary tract. It is one of the macrolide antibiotics that can effectively treat infections of the skin, respiratory tract, urinary tract and other specific locations.  Erythromycin for dogs is also known as a prokinetic medication that improves the movement of the GI tract.

Cost

Erythromycin for dogs is available in tablet, liquid and ointment form, and only with a prescription. The cost for the drug varies according to the preparation and where it is obtained. A tube of .5% erythromycin eye ointment costs approximately $20. Tablets range from $55 to over $300 for 28 250 mg tablets. The cost of the liquid preparation is higher per dosage unit. Prescriptions acquired through a veterinarian are typically slightly higher than from a drugstore or discount supplier. 

Dosage

Erythromycin for dogs can be given by mouth, as an injection or applied to the eye in ointment form. It is given in oral form at 10-20 milligrams per pound twice a day. A lower dose may be given to dogs with kidney or liver disease, or to elder dogs. 

Dosage instructions

Give erythromycin for dogs on an empty stomach unless it causes vomiting and diarrhea. If vomiting and diarrhea occur, give with a small amount of food. It’s important to continue giving the medication to your dog until it is all gone, or 14 days; do not stop before the course of medication is finished, because the infection may come back. 

If your dog refuses to take the tablet, it may be given inside a treat, with a little food, or in a pill pouch. The liquid is administered with an oral syringe. Eye ointment is administered in a ribbon along the lower eyelid in the affected eye.

Efficacy

Macrolide antibiotics are effective against several infections, including urinary tract infections, skin infections, infections of the lungs, protozoal infections such as babesiosis caused by ticks, and eye infections. A Mayo Clinic study published in 1985 that compared various antibiotics with erythromycin discovered that the drug is effective against a large number of microorganisms but in some were only 50% or lower in strength. 

Other findings included studies of legionnaire’s disease and chlamydia that showed moderate efficacy from erythromycin, and some tissues of the body accepted erythromycin’s anti-cell protein activity better than others. Erythromycin for dogs kills microorganisms by destroying the cells’ protein synthesis mechanism, causing cell death.

Side effects of erythromycin in dogs

The most common side effects of erythromycin are:

Less common side effects may include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Increased thirstiness
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Secondary fungal infections
  • Liver damage

If side effects are noted, stop giving the medication and notify the veterinarian who prescribed it. Erythromycin lasts in the system for about 24 hours, and side effects should subside after that time.

Considerations

Erythromycin should not be used in dogs with known allergic reactions or sensitivity to it or other macrolide antibiotics. Liver and kidney disease may affect how efficiently the drug is processed in the body, and erythromycin may cause a false high on tests for liver enzymes such as AST and ALT.

Drug interactions

Erythromycin for dogs (Gallimycin, Ery-Tab, Ery-Ped, E.E.S., ERYC, Emycin, Rabid, Erythro, Erythrocin, PCE) may negatively interact with the following medications:

  • Opioids (alfentanil, fentanyl, sufentanil)
  • Anti-anxiety drugs (alprazolam, buspirone)
  • Antiarrhythmics heart failure medications (digoxin)
  • Anti-clotting medication (warfarin)
  • Anti-seizure drugs (carbamazepine)
  • Azole antifungals (fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, posaconazole,isavuconazole)
  • Blood pressure medications (verapamil)
  • Chemotherapy drugs (Altretamine, Bendamustine, Busulfan, Carboplatin, Carmustine, Chlorambucil, Cisplatin, Cyclophosphamide, and others)
  • (buspirone)
  • GI prokinetics (cisapride)
  • GI antacids (omeprazole)
  • Steroids (methylprednisolone, prednisone)

Before beginning treatment with erythromycin, be sure to talk with your veterinarian about any other medications your dog may be taking, including vitamins, minerals and supplements.

Allergic reactions to erythromycin

Allergic reactions

to erythromycin, which are rare but may occur, include trouble breathing, swollen tongue or face, and increased heart rate. The severity of the allergic reaction may vary in dogs but the symptoms will not change. A quick call to the animal hospital may result in a visit or a prescription for anti-allergy medicine.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a prescription for erythromycin for dogs?

Erythromycin is only available with a veterinarian’s prescription. Your veterinary clinic may carry supplies of the medication and dispense it directly to you at the clinic.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

If you forget a dose, give it as soon as you remember unless the next dose is within a short time. If that is the case, skip the missed dose and give the dog the next scheduled dose. Do not double up doses to “catch up” or administer extra doses.

How do I store erythromycin?

There are no specific instructions for the storage of erythromycin. As with all medications, keep the medication at or near average room temperature in a secure and dry place. Be sure other pets and children cannot access this medication.

What do I do in case of an emergency?

If you see or suspect your dog has received an overdose of erythromycin, call your veterinary hospital immediately, or take the dog to an emergency veterinary hospital. 

Is there specific monitoring that should be done with this medication?

No specific monitoring of erythromycin is necessary, outside of observing for allergy or overdose. The veterinarian may want to periodically see the dog during treatment to determine its effectiveness.


Cost of Erythromycin for Dogs in Dogs

Erythromycin for dogs is available in tablet, liquid and ointment form, and only with a prescription. The cost for the drug varies according to the preparation and where it is obtained. A tube of .5% erythromycin eye ointment costs approximately $20. Tablets range from $55 to over $300 for 28 250 mg tablets. The cost of the liquid preparation is higher per dosage unit. Prescriptions acquired through a veterinarian are typically slightly higher than from a drugstore or discount supplier. 


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