By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is lincomycin?

Lincomycin (brand names: Lincocin®, Lincomix®) is a lincosamide antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections such as skin and bone infections. It is similar to clindamycin, which is used more often than lincomycin.

While its use for certain conditions is FDA approved for cats and dogs, its use for other conditions and use in ferrets and birds to treat 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 lincomycin given?

Lincomycin is given by mouth in the form of a tablet, capsule, or liquid solution. It may also be given as an injection in the hospital setting by a veterinarian. Give the oral form on an empty stomach, followed by a small amount of water or food to avoid a throat burn from the medication. If vomiting occurs when dosed on an empty stomach, give future doses with food. Measure liquid forms carefully.

This medication should take effect within 1 to 2 hours, and while effects may not be visibly obvious, gradual improvements are usually noticeable after a few days.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember, but if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects?

Side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, or drooling. Serious side effects include continued or severe bloody stools, trouble swallowing, lack of appetite, or yellowing of the skin, gums, or eyes.

This short-acting medication should stop working within 24 hours, although effects can be longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Do not use lincomycin in pets that are allergic to it or similar drugs, in pets with a candida fungal infection, very young pets, or in rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, or horses. Lincomycin should be used cautiously in pets with liver or kidney disease. Use cautiously in pregnant or nursing pets, although its use is likely safe according to the information available.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

The following medications should be used with caution when given with lincomycin: cyclosporine, erythromycin, kaolin, or neuromuscular blocking agents.

Lincomycin may also cause increases in liver values that do not have a clinical significance.

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?

Liver and kidney function should be monitored while using this medication. Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working. Monitor your pet at home for serious side effects.

How do I store lincomycin?

Store this medication at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C) in a tight container and protected from light.

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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