Clindamycin: Treating Infections in Pets

PetMD’s team of veterinary professionals has provided comprehensive information about medications to address your concerns regarding their functions, side effects, and species-specific usage. While this content serves as a helpful resource, it is essential to consult your vet for proper advice.

What Is Clindamycin?

Clindamycin, an antibiotic, plays a crucial role in treating skin infections, wounds, abscesses, respiratory infections, and dental-related oral infections in dogs and cats. Interestingly, clindamycin is also prescribed off-label for treating susceptible infections in birds, ferrets, and reptiles. However, it’s critical to note that horses, cows, sheep, goats, and other small mammals should not be administered clindamycin as it can cause fatal diarrhea in these species. Moreover, clindamycin is also used off-label to address certain protozoal infections such as babesiosis, hepatozoonosis, neosporosis, and toxoplasmosis in dogs and cats.

How Clindamycin Works

Clindamycin, classified as a lincosamide antibiotic, effectively inhibits the formation of vital proteins in specific strains of susceptible bacteria. By impeding their growth and multiplication, clindamycin combats bacterial infections. In some cases, depending on the concentration of clindamycin, location of the infection, and strain of bacteria, this antibiotic can even lead to bacterial death.

In certain situations, your veterinarian might recommend a compounded formulation of clindamycin. Compounded medications are prescribed when FDA-approved drugs cannot manage your pet’s health due to reasons such as difficulty in swallowing capsule-form pills, unavailability of the required dosage strength commercially, or an allergy to an ingredient in the FDA-approved medication. It’s important to note that compounded medications are not FDA-approved and are tailored by veterinarians or licensed pharmacists to suit each patient’s specific needs. For more information about compounded medications, click here.

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Clindamycin Directions

To administer clindamycin to your pet, follow the directions mentioned on the drug label, or as advised by your veterinarian. It’s worth noting that clindamycin has a bitter taste, which may make administration challenging and cause drooling. Offering the medication along with food can help alleviate this issue. Additionally, provide your pet with at least a tablespoon of water or a small amount of food after giving clindamycin pills, following your vet’s instructions. Moreover, it’s recommended to administer probiotics alongside clindamycin to prevent digestive upset.

Missed a Dose?
If you forget to give a dose of clindamycin, consult your veterinarian for guidance. Generally, your vet may instruct you to administer the missed dose when you remember. However, if it’s nearly time for the next dose, skip the missed one and continue with the regular dosing schedule. Remember not to provide extra or double doses.

Clindamycin Possible Side Effects

Like all antibiotics, clindamycin may cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and lethargy. Additional side effects may include drooling, bloody diarrhea, and esophageal injuries in cats. It’s essential to be aware that humans may experience different dosages and side effects when accidentally ingesting clindamycin prescribed for pets. In such cases, contact your physician or the national Poison Control Center hotline at 800-222-1222.

Monitoring and When to Call Your Vet

Your veterinarian may recommend specific monitoring or routine testing while your pet is on clindamycin, depending on their individual needs, concurrent medications, and the underlying issue that led to the prescription. Reach out to your vet if you observe severe side effects, if your pet’s condition worsens or doesn’t improve with treatment, or if you have any additional questions or concerns about the use of clindamycin.

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Clindamycin Overdose Information

Instances of clindamycin overdoses are exceedingly rare. However, long-term overdoses could result in loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, stomach ulcers, liver irritation, kidney damage, or gallbladder disease. If you suspect an overdose, contact your veterinarian immediately, seek emergency veterinary care, or reach out to an animal poison control center. Please note that consultation fees may apply.

  • Pet Poison Helpline: (855) 764-7661
  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control: (888) 426-4435

Clindamycin Storage

When it comes to commercially available liquid and tablet versions of clindamycin, it’s important to store them at controlled room temperatures, typically between 68-77°F (20-25°C). Always double-check the storage instructions provided on the label. Ensure the container is tightly closed to protect against moisture and light. For compounded medications, follow the storage guidelines mentioned on the label provided by the compounding pharmacy. Remember to keep clindamycin out of the reach of children and pets.

Clindamycin FAQs

Feel free to explore some frequently asked questions about clindamycin below.

By adhering to the instructions and advice of your veterinarian, clindamycin can be a highly effective tool in combating infections in your beloved pets. Always keep an open line of communication with your vet and reach out whenever you have questions or concerns. Remember, the health and well-being of your furry friend are of the utmost importance.