Vibramycin & Cats

Not another pill!
i cat image by Dwight Davis from

Your doctor might give you the antibiotic doxycycline for certain ailments. Your cat's vet might give her vibramycin for feline diseases, but the two of you are taking the same medication in different dosages. Vibramycin is available in tablet, capsule and oral forms; choose the one that's easiest to administer.


While vibramycin has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for animal use, it is often used in an "off-label" capacity by veterinarians. This is perfectly legal, so don't be concerned that your vet is doing something wrong. Usually, vibramycin is the not first choice for veterinarians but becomes the "go-to" drug when an initial antibiotic failed to cure the feline patient. It may be the first choice if the bacteria causing an infection is recognized and doesn't respond to conventional antibiotics.

How It Works

Vibramycin prevents infection-causing bacteria from producing protein that creates and sustains its cell walls. If the drug is effective, the cells die off without reproducing, ending the infection.


If diagnosed with the eye disease refractory feline conjunctivitis, which is caused by the bacteria chlamydia, your cat may be treated with vibramycin. Because this form of conjunctivitis is so contagious, any other cats in your house must also receive the drug. The tick-borne diseases Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease are also treated with vibramycin. Your vet may prescribe vibramycin for upper respiratory infections that don't respond to other antibiotics. It is also given to cats suffering from feline infectious anemia, contracted from fleas.

Side Effects

Although usually not serious, vibramycin causes side effects in some felines. Some cats throw up while on the drug, or experience diarrhea. Vibramycin may cause photosensitivity, so keep kitty out of the sun while she's on the medication. Long-term use can cause tooth discoloration. In rare cases, serious side effects occur in susceptible cats, often the results of drug allergies. Take your cat to the vet if she develops a fever while on vibramycin, loses hair, appears disoriented, won't eat or develops lesions around the ears, mouth or genitals. If your cat doesn't urinate or her urine turns very dark, that's a red alert and she should go to a veterinary emergency hospital if your regular vet can't see her at once.

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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