Doxycycline Use in Kittens

"Maybe if she doesn't see me, she won't give me that nasty medicine."
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Those good-for-nothing harmful bacteria can make your kitten's life miserable -- until they meet doxycycline. Doxycycline kills certain types of bacteria and helps your little one feel perky and hyper again. This medication does have side effects in kittens, although one in particular is overstated.


When harmful bacteria decide to call your kitten's body home, your vet might combat them with doxycycline. This tetracycline antibiotic is typically given once a day. It's often used to take nasty infections out to with the trash. These include Lyme disease, chlamydia and urinary tract infections. Chlamydia is especially common in kittens who have spent their short lives in shelters. It's vital that you administer doxycycline for however long your vet instructs, even if your kitty seems to be bouncing back from her sickness.

Yellow Teeth

When those baby teeth fall out, you probably expect healthy, white adult teeth to grow in as replacements. A few sources warn of the possibility of permanent yellow staining on the adult teeth of kittens who were prescribed doxycycline in their first couple of months. Certain tetracycline antibiotics can cause yellow staining. But John D. Bonagura and David C. Twedt, authors of "Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy, 14th Edition," say evidence is lacking that doxycycline causes such staining in kittens.

Esophageal Stricture

If the esophagus becomes narrower, that's called an esophageal stricture. It makes eating troublesome, causing frequent regurgitation and pain. To avoid that pain, cats with esophageal stricture often eat less and lose too much weight. Doxycycline pills can cause esophageal strictures if they dissolve in the esophagus. This can be prevented by chasing the pill with some tasty liquid such as chicken broth, or even with water. As an alternative, you can talk to your vet about prescribing an oral liquid rather than the pill form of doxycycline.


If you have concerns about your kitten's doxycycline prescription, talk to your vet. It's part of his job to address your worries. If you've never given medication to a cat, ask your vet how to administer the antibiotic. Syringes for liquid medication are fairly straightforward, but a few tricks can get that tiny mouth to open more easily. Pills are a bit more complicated, but the vet can show you where to place them to ensure they go down. It's not abnormal for your kitty to seem nauseous and have diarrhea on doxycycline, but other side effects are uncommon. Call your vet right away if you notice confusion, difficulty breathing, bloody vomit or stool, or any other serious side effects.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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