By Lauren Forsythe, PharmD, DICVP; Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

Sulfadimethoxine (brand name: Albon®) is a sulfonamide antimicrobial usually used to treat coccidiosis but can also be used to treat other types of infections in dogs and cats.

Its use in small mammals and reptiles to treat coccidia or other 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 sulfadimethoxine given?

  • Give sulfadimethoxine by mouth, in the form of a tablet or liquid suspension.
  • Give with or without food.
  • If your pet vomits after receiving the medication on an empty stomach, give the next dose with a meal or a treat.
  • If you use the liquid medication, shake well before using.
  • Allow your pet to drink water freely to prevent dehydration.

This medication takes effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, but visible effects may take a few days to be recognized.

People with allergies to sulfa compounds should avoid handling this medication or should use gloves while administering this medication.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember and continue with the regular dosing schedule. However, if the next scheduled dose is less than 12 hours away, give the missed dose, skip the next scheduled dose, and then return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses. For example:

  • If you are dosing at 8 a.m. every day, but you miss a dose and remember at 4 p.m., give it at 4 p.m. and then again at 8 a.m. the next morning.
  • If you miss the 8 a.m. dose and remember at 10 p.m., give it at 10 p.m. but skip the 8 a.m. dose the next morning, and resume the 8 a.m. dosing the following morning.

Are there any potential side effects?

Common side effects in dogs include:

  • decreased appetite
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

Possible serious side effects include:

  • keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye)
  • acute liver inflammation characterized by yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • fever
  • urticaria (hives)
  • polyarthritis
  • facial swelling
  • increased drinking and urination
  • crystal or stone formation in the urinary tract

Less common side effects include:

  • allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis and immune reactions
  • anemia (low red blood cells)
  • low white blood cells

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?

Sulfadimethoxine SHOULD NOT be used in pets that:

  • are allergic to sulfonamides, thiazides, or sulfonylurea products
  • have severe liver or kidney dysfunction
  • are dehydrated
  • are pregnant or nursing

 Sulfadimethoxine should be used cautiously in:

  • pets that have mild liver, kidney, or thyroid dysfunction
  • pets that are weak, old, or frail
  • pets that have a history of urinary obstruction
  • doberman pinschers, as they are more susceptible to serious side effects

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

Certain medications should be used with caution when given with sulfadimethoxine, including but not limited to:

  • antacids

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?

  • No specific monitoring 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 serious side effects.

How do I store sulfadimethoxine?

  • Store this medication at room temperature (15°-30°C or 59°-86°F).
  • Protect from light.
  • Liquid medication does not require refrigeration.

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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