By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is minocycline?capsules

Minocycline (brand names Minocin®, Solodyn®) is a tetracycline-based antibiotic. It is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections in cats and dogs. It is sometimes used in place of doxycycline. Minocycline is frequently used as part of the heartworm adulticide treatment protocol and is used to treat many tickborne infections.

Its use in dogs and cats 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.


How is minocycline given?

Minocycline is given by mouth. It is available as capsules, tablets, and flavored oral suspension. It can be given with or without food. If your pet acts sick or vomits after giving this medication, try giving the next dose with food.

It is important not to give this medication as a dry pill. Give with a moist treat or small amount of liquid. This is especially important in cats. If the pill becomes lodged in the throat or esophagus, it may cause ulcers.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication (or my shipment is late)?

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. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.


Are there any potential side effects?

The most commonly observed side effects are nausea, vomiting, reduced appetite, and diarrhea. If these side effects are severe or worsen, contact your veterinarian.

It is important to never dry pill a cat if using capsules or tablets as esophagitis (damage to the esophagus, the muscular tube that delivers food from the mouth to the stomach) can occur.

If your pet appears to have trouble swallowing or eating, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Minocycline may increase your pet’s sensitivity to the sun. If you notice that hairless areas (nose, eyelids, ears) are getting sunburned or reddening, contact your veterinarian.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Minocycline should not be used in animals that have a hypersensitivity (allergy) to it or drugs like it (e.g., doxycycline, tetracycline).

It should not be used in breeding, pregnant, or nursing pets except when absolutely necessary.

This medication should be used with caution in pets:

  • with a history of liver problems
  • that are young and still developing bones and teeth

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

If your pet is taking oral antacids, bismuth, or gastroprotectants (such as sucralfate, brand name Carafate®), the absorption or effectiveness of minocycline can be reduced. Your veterinarian may advise you to give your pet the minocycline 1-2 hours before or after these other medications.

Other medications (e.g., digoxin, oral iron, pencillins, and warfarin) may interfere with minocycline.

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.

How do I store minocycline?

Store minocycline in a tightly sealed container at room temperature 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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