Is chloramphenicol for dogs safe?

Posted on  October 4, 2020, Edited by Jason, Category  

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Chloramphenicol for dogs and cats

1. What is chloramphenicol?


The commonly used species is chloramphenicol. This class of antibiotics is characterized by high fat solubility, easy to enter the cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue, and is effective against many pathogens, but can induce aplastic anemia, and its application is limited.

Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic that can be used in cats and dogs. It can inhibit the growth of bacteria. It is effective against most bacteria, and even against some single-cell pathogens. Chloramphenicol is a prescription medicine. Do not give your pets this medicine without the permission and guidance of your veterinarian.

2. The use of chloramphenicol for cats and dogs

  • Chloramphenicol is used to treat various bacterial infections in dogs and cats, including skin infections, wound infections, bone infections, central nervous system infections (encephalitis, meningitis), pneumonia and intestinal infections (such as diarrhea).
  • Chloramphenicol has been used to treat single-cell pathogen infections in pets.
  • Chloramphenicol has been used to treat tick-borne diseases in animals, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
  • Chloramphenicol is not effective against infections caused by parasites (intestinal worms), mites, viruses or fungi.

3. Precautions and side effects

Although chloramphenicol prescribed by a veterinarian is generally safe and effective, it can cause side effects on some animals.

  • Chloramphenicol should not be used in animals known to be allergic to drugs.
  • Chloramphenicol can cause irreversible inhibition of human hematopoietic cells (aplastic anemia) under certain circumstances. For this reason, we should avoid direct contact with chloramphenicol drugs as much as possible.
  • The above-mentioned aplastic anemia is only for humans, and it is impossible for pets to have such side effects. However, if chloramphenicol is used in pets in high doses for a long time, it may be reversible. Inhibit their blood forming cells. For example, in cats, this reaction will be observed after giving it chloramphenicol for two weeks.
  • Do not inject chloramphenicol into pregnant pets or young pets.
  • Chloramphenicol may interact with other drugs. For this reason, before administering medicine to your pet, you must consult your veterinarian to make sure that other medicines your pet takes will not interact with chloramphenicol. These drugs include various other antibiotics such as phenobarbital and cyclophosphamide.
  • Cats are most susceptible to the adverse reactions of chloramphenicol.
  • Chloramphenicol may cause vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea.

4. The usage and dosage of chloramphenicol

  • Chloramphenicol is available in many forms-250 mg capsules, 100 mg/250 mg/500 mg tablets, and a liquid form (chloramphenicol palmitate), which can be made into oral liquid.
  • The first and most important point is that you must consult your veterinarian before administering.
  • For dogs, the standard dose is "50 mg/kg/time, 3 times a day", for cats, the standard dose is "12.5-20 mg/kg/time, 3 times a day".
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, the degree of response to the drug, and the development of any adverse reactions. Be sure to insist on completing the entire course of treatment, unless your veterinarian has given special instructions. Even if your pet seems to have recovered, the entire treatment plan must be adhered to prevent recurrence.

Chloramphenicol eye drops

1. Dogs

Chloramphenicol eye drops is a very common eye medicine, which plays a certain role in antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It is not only widely used in humans and even in the pet industry, but it does not mean that it can be used by dogs at will. A few points need to be understood.

A. Choose eye drops according to the condition

Chloramphenicol eye drops is an antibiotic eye drops, mainly used for diseases of eye infections. If the dog does not have eye diseases, it is only used for daily care and fatigue relief. It is not suitable for antibiotic eye drops, and it will cause adverse reactions. Even with eye diseases, different eye drops target different sensitive bacteria.

If you don’t know what the dog’s eye disease is, you should not give the dog free medication, otherwise it will not work. It is best to diagnose the disease first before deciding which eye drops to use. Consult your doctor for how long to use it.

B. Understand the side effects of chloramphenicol

Although chloramphenicol eye drops have low-cost and good antibacterial effects, they also have certain side effects. Temporary use is no problem. However, if used as common eye drops, it will cause obstructive anemia and a certain degree of visual impairment, so It is not recommended to use this type of eye drops for a long time. Individual dogs may experience discomfort after using chloramphenicol eye drops.

If your eyes are red, swollen, or skin allergic, you should stop using it immediately and change to another eye drop. It is best to keep a dog-specific eye drop at home, such as Wang Xiang's eye drops, which are designed for dogs’ eye diseases and are safer rest assured.

C. Misuse of chloramphenicol eye drops

Although such cases are rare, it must be reminded that due to its obvious side effects, chloramphenicol is no longer used for oral administration, so that it will not be absorbed by the blood. It is better to use externally as an eye drop for antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. But some people exaggerate the effect of chloramphenicol, and even take eye drops as an oral solution for dogs. This is a very dangerous practice. Don't give it to dogs because of curiosity.

D. Misunderstanding

a. Can continue to be used after the expiry date
In fact, the shelf life on the packaging of eye drops usually refers to the unopened bottle, usually 1-3 years. Most eye drops contain preservatives. Once opened and used, the liquid medicine may be contaminated by microorganisms in the air, causing safety hazards. If it is not used up after 4 weeks, it should be discarded. Do not use eye drops between family members to avoid cross-infection.

b. Long-term frequent use of eye drops
Any type of eye drops should be used at the prescribed frequency and treatment time. Overuse may cause adverse reactions. Long-term use of hormonal eye drops may cause diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts, and may also cause serious eye infections, including fungal infections of the cornea.

2. Rabbits

When rabbits have eye problems, chloramphenicol eye drops are not suitable for rabbits. If the rabbit’s eyes are inflamed, the pet owner should choose rabbit eye drops for rabbits. Let’s talk to the pet owner about what to do when the rabbit becomes inflamed.

A. Check the eyes for foreign objects

When the rabbit’s eyes have problems, the pet owner can first check the rabbit’s eyes for foreign objects. When a foreign body enters the rabbit's eyes, it may irritate the rabbit's eyes and cause inflammation of the rabbit's eyes. The pet owner can gently lift the rabbit’s eyes with his hands. If he sees foreign objects in his eyes, he can use a clean cotton swab to gently help the rabbit get the foreign objects out.

B. Use special rabbit eye drops

After the pet owner cleans up the rabbit’s eyes, he should use special rabbit eye drops to help the rabbit take care of the eyes. Rabbit eyes often produce some secretions. If pet owners do not clean up these secretions in time, they may become a breeding ground for bacteria. When taking care of the eyes, the pet owner can gently lift the rabbit’s eyelids, and then put 1~2 drops of rabbit drip into the eyes. When the drip is done, you can use a wet wipe to help the rabbit wipe the eye area clean.

C. Clean and cut hair regularly

For rabbits, a clean and hygienic living environment is very important. In addition, when the rabbit’s hair is too long, it may not only hide dirt, but also fall into the rabbit’s eyes when it falls off. Pet owners should help rabbits cut their fur regularly, and also pay attention to helping rabbits clean the rabbit cage. If the rabbit's cage is too dirty, not only may it accumulate dust, but it may also provide a living environment for some bacteria.

Chloramphenicol on various animals

1. Dosage

  • Meningitis: Dogs: 25-50 mg/kg i.v, p.o, tid-qid.
  • Acute gastric dilatation: Dogs: 25-50 mg/kg i.v, bid
  • Hepatocholangitis, colitis: Dogs: 20 mg/kg p.o, tid
  • Bacteria or Rickettsia infection: Dogs: 25-50 mg/kgi.v,i.m,s.c, p.o, tid
  • Cat: 25 mg/kg p.o, bid or 50 mg/kg i.v, i.m, s.c, p.o, bid
  • Small mammals: ferrets, 25-50 mg/kg p. o., s. c., i. m., i. v., q12h;
  • Rabbit, 50 mg/kg p. o., s. c. (eye drops) q12-24h;,
  • Mice, 50 mg/kg i. m., p.o.q12h, 200 mg/kg p.o. q12h or 0.5mg/ml drinking water;
  • For other rodents, 30-50 mg/kg i. v., i. m., s. c., p. o. q8-12h or drinking water, guinea pigs 1 mg/ml, gerbils 0.83 mg/ml.
  • Birds: 50 mg/kg i. v., i. m. q8h; 75 mg/kg p. o. q8h; pigeons, 25 mg/kg p. o. q12h.
  • Reptiles: 40-50 mg/kg i. m., s. c., p. o. q24h.

2. Function

Bacteriostatic antibacterial agent, by binding to the 50S ribosomal subunit of sensitive bacteria, inhibit bacterial protein synthesis.

3. Application

It has a broad spectrum for Gram-positive bacteria (such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus), Gram-negative bacteria (such as Brucella, Salmonella, Haemophilus) and obligate anaerobic bacteria (such as Clostridium, Bacteroides fragilis) active. Other sensitive bacteria include Chlamydophila, Mycoplasma (the effect of treating mycoplasmosis of the eye is not reliable) and Rickettsia. Resistant bacteria include Nocardia and Mycobacterium. Enterobacteriaceae has acquired drug resistance. The drug is highly fat-soluble and suitable for the treatment of intraocular infections. This product can also enter the CNS. Due to the development of drug resistance and human toxicity, the application of this product is limited to a single animal with special indications, such as salmonella infections or deep eye infections resistant to other antibacterial agents. The dose needs to be adjusted when used in animals with liver or kidney insufficiency. For newborn animals, reduce the dose or increase the dosing interval. This product can enter milk, and it should be used with caution or forbidden in lactating female dogs or cats, especially dogs and cats with newborn animals.

4. Safety and operation

People exposed to chloramphenicol may increase the risk of fatal aplastic anemia. Attention should be paid during operation, use non-permeable gloves and avoid skin contact.

5. Adverse reactions

The most common side effect of oral administration is gastrointestinal discomfort, including transient depression, anorexia, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Adverse reactions include reversible bone marrow suppression and non-regenerative anemia, thrombocytopenia and leukopenia. Cats are unfavorable to these The reaction is more sensitive; at a dose of 50 mg/kg, twice a day, bone marrow changes may occur after one week of treatment, and neutropenia, lymphopenia, non-regeneration may occur after three weeks of treatment Anemia, and thrombocytopenia, these symptoms can be relieved a few days after stopping the drug, and intermittent administration at lower doses does not show toxic changes

6. Drug Interactions

Chloramphenicol is an inhibitor of liver microsomal enzymes. It enhances the activity of the following drugs: barbiturates, cyclophosphamide, phenytoin, primidone, warfarin, inhaled anesthetics, digitalis and aspirin. The combined use of phenobarbital and other barbiturates with this product will reduce the efficacy of this product, and the bacteriostatic effect of this product will inhibit the efficacy of penicillin, cephalosporin and aminoglycosides (Aminoglycosides).

7. Formulations and specifications

  • Injection: 1 g powder injection for preparation.
  • Local medication: 1% ointment for eye drops; 0.5% solution.
  • Oral: 250 mg capsules.


Chloramphenicol has a strong effect on bacterial infections, but side effects must be taken into account, especially for young animals, pay more attention to the use and dosage of chloramphenicol. When using such drugs, be sure to go to the hospital for advice from professional physicians.

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