Overview of Amoxicillin & Clavulanate for Canines and Felines
- Amoxicillin + clavulanate is commonly used in dogs and cats to treat a variety of infections and its most common brand name is Clavamox® and Augmentin®.
- Amoxicillin + clavulanate is a combination of two drugs that act together (synergistically) to treat or prevent bacterial infections in animals. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic related to penicillin, except that it has a somewhat broader spectrum of antibacterial action.
- Clavulanate is an inhibitor of an enzyme produced by bacteria. This enzyme, beta-lactamase, would ordinarily render amoxicillin inactive. Clavulanate has no antibacterial effects; it simply acts as an inhibitor of an important resistance mechanism.
- The combination of these two drugs in the same tablet means they act synergistically to treat bacterial infections that would otherwise have been resistant to amoxicillin alone.
- As with similar penicillin drugs, amoxicillin + clavulanate kills bacteria by inhibiting production of the bacteria cell wall. Other related drugs include ampicillin, penicillin G, and ticarcillin.
- Amoxicillin + clavulanate is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
Brand Names and Other Names of Amoxicillin & Clavulanate
- This drug is registered for use in humans and animals.
- Human formulation: Augmentin® (SK-Beecham)
- Veterinary formulation: Clavamox® (Beecham), Clavamox-Drops® (Beecham)
Uses of Amoxicillin + Clavulanate for Dogs and Cats
- Amoxicillin + clavulanate is administered to treat infections caused by susceptible bacteria.
- Infections treated with amoxicillin + clavulanate may include skin infections, bone infections, wound infections, infections in the mouth, pneumonia, and bladder infections.
- Amoxicillin + clavulanate is not effective for viruses and parasitic infections (such as worms or mites).
- Despite the combination of amoxicillin plus clavulanate, resistance may still occur with some bacteria and infections unresponsive to treatment.
Precautions and Side Effects
- While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, amoxicillin + clavulanate can cause side effects in some animals.
- Amoxicillin + clavulanate should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
- Some animals may vomit shortly after administration of amoxicillin + clavulanate. This may occur in as many as 10 percent of dogs. In these cases, it may be helpful to feed the animal some food prior to drug administration to decrease stomach irritation. If vomiting after administration continues to occur, contact your veterinarian.
- It is common for animals to develop diarrhea or loose stools from oral amoxicillin, and the same reaction may occur with amoxicillin + clavulanate. This is caused by a change in the bacterial population in the animal’s intestine.
- Amoxicillin + clavulanate may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with amoxicillin + clavulanate. Such drugs include chloramphenicol and tetracycline.
How Amoxicillin with Clavulanate Is Supplied
- The veterinary form of amoxicillin + clavulanate is supplied in various size tablets ranging from 62.5 to 400 mg and a 50 mg/ml liquid oral suspension. These forms contain an amoxicillin to clavulanate ratio of 5 to 1.
- The human form has a slightly different ratio of the amoxicillin to clavulanate; however, this drug should also be safe for animals. Augmentin® is available in tablets in a range of sizes that vary from 250 to 875 mg (amoxicillin content), chewable tablets ranging in size from 125 to 400 mg, and oral liquid suspension that contains from 25 to 80 mg amoxicillin per ml. Clavulanate content in these preparations varies from 2:1 to 7:1 (amoxicillin:clavulanate).
Dosing Information for Clavamox® in Dogs and Cats
- Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
- The dose of amoxicillin ranges from 5 to 12 mg per pound (10 to 25 mg/kg) two or three times a day orally. The most common dose of Clavamox® used in dogs and cats is 6.875 mg per pound (13.75 mg/kg) every 12 hours.
- Doses are determined according to amoxicillin content of the tablet since ratios of clavulanate in the preparation may vary.
- The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication, and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.
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