tetracycline antibiotics

Tetracycline uses as a veterinary drug

Posted on  October 1, 2020, Edited by Jason, Category  

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What is tetracycline?

Tetracycline was discovered in 1940. It was popular for a long time. The tetracycline uses are efficacious and extensive. Tetracycline antibiotics can produce antibacterial effects by preventing the elongation of sensitive bacteria peptide chains and protein synthesis. Tetracycline antibiotics have a broad antibacterial spectrum and have a strong effect on Gram-negative bacteria, Gram-positive bacteria, spirochetes, Chlamydia, Rickettsia, Mycoplasma, Actinomyces and Amoeba.

Tetracycline class

Tetracycline antibiotics for veterinary are broad-spectrum antibiotics with a naphthacene structure. They are mainly divided into natural and semi-synthetic types. They can be taken orally, with broad antibacterial spectrum, low toxicity, few allergies, and more severe drug resistance. They Inhibit the growth of bacteria, but the effect is weak (less than penicillin or streptomycin).

Tetracycline antibiotics for veterinary use mainly include oxytetracycline, tetracycline, chlortetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, metomycin, etc., each of which has its own focus on the therapeutic effect, and different requirements for the dosage for different types of livestock. You should follow the doctor's advice or specific application in accordance with the requirements of the product instructions.

Tetracycline uses 

Although veterinary tetracycline antibiotics have a wide range of effects, you should pay attention to the application and dosage which should be performed in an appropriate amount and time. Because the toxic and side effects of this drug should also be taken into account.

The adverse reactions of tetracycline drugs include: mainly local irritation, double infection and damage to the liver, etc. Oral administration of antibiotic directly stimulates the mucosa of the digestive tract; after intramuscular injection, due to the strong acidity of its hydrochloride, it can cause local pain, inflammation and necrosis; after intravenous injection, it can cause phlebitis and thrombosis. Among these irritants, chlortetracycline is the strongest, followed by oxytetracycline, and tetracycline is the lightest.

Tetracycline for poultry

1. Pigs

A. Precautions for using tetracycline

  • Rapid intravenous injection is contraindicated to prevent sudden collapse.
  • This product cannot be combined with quick-acting antiseptics such as penicillins, cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, etc., so as not to reduce the effectiveness of the latter.
  • It is not advisable to mix and inject with other drugs to avoid precipitation or lowered effect.
  • Oxytetracycline has a significant effect on paratyphoid fever, eperythrocytes, anthracnose, asthma, dysentery, and swine pneumonia.

B. Disinfection work

In addition to the treatment of diseases, the more important thing is the management of the environment, to fundamentally reduce the harmful effects of bacteria and germs. In the daily pig management, in order to effectively control the growth of bacteria and prevent infection, the pig farm must be strictly disinfected.

a. Daily disinfection

  • Spread quicklime on the road in the yard.
  • Put a large plastic basin at the entrance of the pig house, put caustic soda water in it, and step on it every time to disinfect. And the caustic soda water should be replaced daily.
  • Spray disinfection of pigs in the pig house, use glutaraldehyde and iodine preparations alternately, once a day.

b. If there are pigs died from diseases

  • First, clean thoroughly, then fully soak the ground and wall with caustic soda water, and rinse with a high-pressure cleaner after 24 hours.
  • After the shed is dry, use a flame gun to sterilize it at high temperature. There are a lot of bacteria and viruses in the empty pens of sick and dead pigs. High temperature can kill them quickly.
  • Use disinfectant spray to disinfect the ground and wall and other visible places.

2. Chickens

Tetracycline has great side effects on chickens. It not only stimulates the digestive tract and damages the liver, but also combines with metal ions such as calcium ions and magnesium ions in the digestive tract of chickens to form complexes and hinder calcium absorption. At the same time, chlortetracycline can also interact with the calcium ions in the plasma combine to form insoluble calcium salts, which makes the chicken body lack calcium, thus hindering the formation of eggshells, causing soft-shelled eggs, poor egg quality, and decreased chicken lay rate.

Therefore, when using tetracycline antibacterial drugs, you should avoid feeding soybeans, black soybeans, and feeding additives such as stone meal, bone meal, eggshell powder, and gypsum should not be used.

In rural areas, many chicken farmers often use oxytetracycline to prevent and control poultry diseases, or use it as a feed additive, but excessive use can cause poisoning. Therefore, chickens fed with oxytetracycline need to prevent drug poisoning. Chicken oxytetracycline poisoning is mostly chronic, mainly manifested as malaise and shrinkage of the head and neck, reduced food intake, increased water consumption, diarrhea, white stools with bloodshot eyes, dry feathers with no luster. The body of the chicken is gradually thinning, the keel is bent, and the legs are limp; the comb is atrophy, pale, and the skin is purple; the egg production of the hen decreases or stops production.

Oxytetracycline, as a medicine for preventing poultry diseases, has obvious effects on the prevention and treatment of intestinal bacterial infections. In addition, oxytetracycline is relatively inexpensive and easy to buy. Therefore, many chicken farmers like to use it as a drug additive to mix in feed. The short-term application effect of this method is obvious, with little side effects. However, long-term use of oxytetracycline to feed chickens can easily damage their livers, cause chicken ascites, even numerous deaths, and bring economic losses to chicken farmers.


  • Strict treatment course and dosage. When oxytetracycline is used to prevent and treat certain infectious diseases and intestinal diseases, the prescribed dosage must be administered, and the dosage must not be increased randomly. Generally, a course of treatment should not exceed 5 days, and the medication can be used again after an interval of 1 month.
  • Differentiating the dosage. For the treatment dosage of some sick chickens, generally administer oxytetracycline 25-50 mg per kilogram of body weight once, twice a day.
  • Treatment after poisoning. Once a chicken has chronic oxytetracycline poisoning, the sick chicken should be given mung bean water or hay water immediately. At the same time, vitamin B1 or vitamin C 10-20 mg should be fed orally to each poisoned chicken, which would have obvious therapeutic effect.

3. What is tetracycline used for in dogs and cats

Tetracycline, an antibiotic, is mainly used to treat cat and dog infections caused by susceptible bacteria. Other similar antibiotics include: oxytetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline.

Because many bacteria are resistant to tetracycline, tetracycline has rarely been used in dogs and cats’ treatment. Currently, veterinarians will even recommend prescribing doxycycline or minocycline to pets.

Tetracycline inhibits the protein necessary for the formation of bacteria, resulting in slower growth and death of bacteria, so that normal white blood cells can kill the remaining bacteria.

Tetracycline is a prescription drug that can only be obtained from or prescribed by a veterinarian.

Tetracycline Uses for cats and dogs

  • In general, tetracycline prescribed by a veterinarian is safe and effective, but this drug can also cause side effects on some animals.
  • Tetracycline should not be used in animals known to be allergic to drugs.
  • Tetracycline has been proven to cause some fetal abnormalities, so it should be avoided in pregnant animals.
  • When tetracycline is given to animals known to have liver or kidney damage, it should be used with caution.
  • Tetracycline should not be used in young animals (under 6 months) because it may cause permanent discoloration of teeth.
  • Tetracycline may interact with other drugs. For this reason, please consult your veterinarian to make sure that other medicines your pet takes will not interact with tetracycline. Drugs that interact with tetracycline include certain antibiotics, digoxin, insulin, and theophylline.
  • Common tetracycline side effects include: nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite or diarrhea. These gastrointestinal side effects can be reduced by taking medication with food. However, tetracycline should not be taken with calcium or dairy products, such as milk, cheese, ice cream or yogurt.
  • Tetracycline can occasionally cause liver or kidney damage.
  • The powdered tetracycline has a bitter taste, and cats do not tolerate it well and may experience drooling or vomiting.
  • Fever and depression are also side effects of tetracycline in cats. If this happens, the medication should be stopped.
  • Tetracycline is a broad-spectrum bacteriostatic agent and has a bactericidal effect at high concentrations. Dogs can take tetracycline, but humans cannot take tetracycline for human. The owner is not recommended taking it by himself and should be taken according to the doctor's advice. This is because the doses of veterinary drugs and human drugs are different, and the owner may be unable to accurately grasp the drug dose, which may easily cause poisoning.


Tetracycline uses are wide and profound, whether for breeding animals or pets, or we humans. While we benefit from these antibiotics, we are also threatened by them. Appropriate amount and non-dependence will be our principle of treating these antibiotics.

The use of antibiotics will cause pathogenic microorganisms to develop resistance, making the effective dose of antibiotics that can kill bacteria continue to increase. Long-term discharge of low-dose antibiotics into the environment will increase the resistance of sensitive bacteria. Moreover, resistance genes can expand and evolve in the environment, posing potential threats to the ecological environment and human health. In addition to causing bacterial resistance, antibiotics may also be toxic to other organisms.


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