By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is sulfadimethoxine?

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?

Sulfadimethoxine is given by mouth in the form of a tablet or liquid suspension, 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 are using the liquid medication, shake well before using. Allow your pet to drink water freely in order to prevent dehydration. This medication will take 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 giving your pet a dose, give the next dose as soon as you remember and continue with the regular dosing schedule. If it is closer than 12 hours before the next scheduled dose, give the missed dose, skip the next scheduled dose, and then resume the regular scheduled times.

Example: If you are giving the dose at 8AM every day, and you miss the dose and remember at 4PM, give it at 4PM and then again at 8AM the next morning. If you miss the 8AM dose and remember at 10PM that night, give it at 10PM, skip the 8AM dose the next morning, and resume the 8AM dosing the following morning.

Are there any potential side effects?

Common side effects in dogs include a decreased appetite, vomiting, and 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, and 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) and 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. It should also be avoided in pets with severe liver or kidney dysfunction or in pets that are dehydrated, pregnant, or nursing. Sulfadimethoxine should be used cautiously in pets with milder liver, kidney, or thyroid dysfunction, weak, old, or frail pets, or pets with a history of urinary obstruction. It should be used cautiously in Doberman Pinschers as they are more susceptible to serious side effects.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

The following medications should be used with caution when given with sulfadimethoxine: 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?

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 serious side effects.

How do I store sulfadimethoxine?

Store this medication at room temperature (15°-30°C or 59°-86°F) and 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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