Tetracycline is a veterinarian-prescribed antibiotic that treats bacterial infections in cats, including those that cause upper respiratory and urinary tract infections. Due to possible side effects caused by tetracycline use in cats, sometimes other types of antibiotics are preferred for treatments of feline bacterial infections.
Bacterial Infections in Cats Treated by Tetracycline
The most common bacterial infections that tetracycline can treat include upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, eye infections and tick diseases (for example, Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis). In some cases, tetracycline is used to treat skin infections and abscesses.
Tetracycline for cats is available in pill and liquid form. For the treatment of eye infections, tetracycline is also available in an ophthalmic ointment that's applied directly to the eye.
Tetracycline Side Effects
Side effects that can occur during tetracycline treatment in cats include nausea, loss of appetite and vomiting. Cats may also develop diarrhea, fever and sometimes hair loss. Tetracycline can be hard on the kidneys, and for this reason tetracycline is not recommended for bacterial treatments in cats that have kidney disease. Tetracycline can stain the teeth of developing kittens, so it is usually avoided for treating bacterial infections in pregnant cats.
Alternatives to Tetracycline Treatment
Because of the side effects that may occur with tetracycline treatment in cats, and because tetracycline is not recommend for use in cats that have kidney problems or are pregnant, alternative antibiotics are usually prescribed. For example, according to the Mar Vista Animal Medical Center, doxycycline may be preferred over tetracycline in some instances of bacterial infection treatments in cats.
If you are concerned about giving your cat tetracycline, talk with your veterinarian about available antibiotics that can treat your cat’s condition.
Considerations for Tetracycline Treatment in Cats
Contact your veterinarian if you notice any side effects that your cat may be developing as a result of the tetracycline treatment. Be sure to give the full course of antibiotics according to the prescription instructions, to make sure the bacterial infection has been completely treated. Tetracycline can react with some over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements; so before your cat begins a tetracycline regimen, notify your veterinarian of any other medications or supplements your cat is taking.
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.
Jane Peterson has been a professional freelance writer since 2006. She enjoys covering subjects such as personal health, diet, women's health, pets, alternative medicine and green living. Peterson graduated from the University of Florida in 2003, earning a bachelor's degree in science.