Azithromycin

By Rania Gollakner, BS DVM

Medications

What is azithromycin?

azithromycinAzithromycin (brand name Zithromax®) is a broad-spectrum antibiotic used for a variety of bacterial, rickettsial, and parasitic infections. It is often combined with other drugs to treat specific infections, such as with atovaquone to treat babesiosis in dogs.

How do I give my pet azithromycin?

Azithromycin comes in tablet form, as a liquid suspension, and also in injectable IV form. Tablets and suspension are given orally (by mouth). It may be given with or without food.

IV forms will be administered by your veterinarian.

It is also available in toothpaste form for dogs that can treat cyclosporine-induced gingival hyperplasia.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

Give the missed dose as soon as you remember, and then wait the recommended amount of time between doses. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects from azithromycin?

Azithromycin can cause vomiting, reduce appetite, and diarrhea.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Azithromycin should not be used in animals sensitive to macrolide antibiotics, or who have liver failure. It should be used cautiously in animals with a history of vomiting.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

Drug interactions have not been reported in animals. There are many classes of drugs that may interact with azithromycin as seen in human studies. Your veterinarian will weigh the potential risks when combining medications and use additional monitoring as needed. Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this medication?

Monitor for adverse effects and to ensure the medication is working.

How do I store azithromycin?

Tablets should be stored in a tightly sealed container, protected from light, at room temperature. Oral suspension should be stored at room temperature for up to 10 days, then discarded.

What should I do in case of emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

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