By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is tylosin?

Tylosin (brand name: Tylan®) is an antibiotic in the same family as erythromycin. It is primarily used in cats, dogs, and small mammals to treat diarrhea and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Its use in dogs to treat inflammatory bowel disease, and its use in dogs, cats, and ferrets to treat certain intestinal infections causing diarrhea 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 tylosin given?

Tylosin is given by mouth in the form of a powder. The powder is extremely bitter, and therefore may be better administered by placing the powder into an empty gelatin capsule or cold butter. It may also be compounded into a liquid. It can be given with or without food.

If your pet vomits or acts sick after receiving this medication without food, try giving it with a meal or treat. In small mammals, it may also be given by injection by your veterinarian at your veterinary hospital.

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

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?

The most common side effects of tylosin use include pain and inflammation at the injection site and mild gastrointestinal upset, such as decreased appetite and diarrhea. 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?

Tylosin should not be used in pets that are allergic to it or other related antibiotics. It should be used with caution in pregnant pets, however its use during pregnancy appears to be safe.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

Drug interactions with tylosin are not well established, although it has been suggested that it should be used cautiously with digoxin. Other possible drug interactions based on information from erythromycin include the following: azole antifungals, cisapride, chloramphenicol, clindamycin, lincomycin, digoxin, dilitiazem, verapamil, omeprazole, sucralfate, warfarin, alfentanil, bromocriptine, buspirone, carbamazepine, chemotherapy agents, cyclosporine, disopyramide, methylprednisolone, midazolam, alprazolam, triazolam, quinidine, sildenafil, tacrolimus, and theophylline.

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 tylosin?

Tylosin powder should be stored at room temperature in a tight container and protected from light and moisture.

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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