By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is cefovecin?

Cefovecin (brand name: Convenia®) is a cephalosporin antibiotic used most commonly for skin infections, periodontal disease, and urinary tract infections. It has also been used as a part of outpatient treatment for parvovirus and other bacterial infections. It is a long-acting injectable antibiotic and is therefore useful in cases when giving medications by mouth is difficult.

Its use in cats and dogs to treat certain types of bacterial infections is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.

How is cefovecin given?

Cefovecin is given by injection under the skin, usually at the veterinary hospital.

Occasionally, veterinarians will prescribe this medication for pet owners to administer to their pet at home. If giving injections at home, mix the medication exactly as instructed, making sure to shake the vial until the liquid is clear (not cloudy). Use a new needle and syringe for every injection. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for injecting the medication under the skin. Dispose of needles in proper sharps containers only.

If you have difficulty giving your pet the injection, contact your veterinary hospital.

This medication will take effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, but effects may not be visibly obvious for several days.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

Contact your veterinary office for advice if you have missed a dose.

Are there any potential side effects?

Side effects may include sluggishness, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin reactions at the site of the injection. Serious side effects are uncommon and include severe allergic reactions such as facial swelling, difficulty breathing, and death. As with other beta-lactam antibiotics, rare side effects such as blood cell and bone marrow abnormalities, and liver enzyme increases are also possible.

The pharmaceutical company that produces the only veterinary-labelled source of cefovecin (Convenia) reports that it is slowly eliminated from the body. Approximately 65 days is needed to eliminate 97% of the administered dose from the body.

Adverse effects can occur up to two months after an injection.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Do not use this medication in pets that are allergic to it or other beta-lactam antibiotics. Cefovecin should be used cautiously in pets with kidney disease. Cefovecin should not be used in herbivores such as rabbits, Guinea pigs, and hamsters as it can negatively impact their digestive system.

While it is labeled for use in dogs and cats over 8 weeks old in the EU, safety has not yet been established in pets younger than 4 months old. Cefovecin should be used cautiously in pets that are pregnant or nursing as safety has not been tested, although other cephalosporins are generally considered safe. The risks versus the benefits should be evaluated in these cases.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

Studies in animals have not been performed to evaluate drug interactions, but based on laboratory testing, the following medications may interact with cefovecin: furosemide, doxycycline, ketoconazole, maropitant, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), propofol, cardiac medications, anti-seizure medications, and behavior medications.

Antibiotics like cefovecin can also interact with certain lab tests such as urine glucose tests, blood or urine tests for creatinine (a kidney value), or blood protein tests. These interactions can lead to false test results.

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?

There is no specific monitoring that needs to be done while your pet is taking this medication. Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working. Monitor your pet for side effects at home.

How do I store cefovecin?

Cefovecin (powder and liquid) should be stored in the refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C (35°F and 46°F) and protected from light. Discard 56 days after reconstitution.

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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