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Clavamox for Dogs and Cats

By Evan Ware, DVM

Last reviewed: 7/14/2022

Commonly prescribed for: Bacterial Infections

Species: Dogs and Cats

Therapeutic Class: Antibiotic

Basic Information

In veterinary medicine, one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics is a combination drug consisting of Amoxicillin and Clavulanate. These two drugs work together to treat a wide range of bacterial infections in both cats and dogs.

This is an effective compounded combination because it is like Penicillin, except that it has a much broader spectrum of antibacterial action, while the Clavulanate effectively inhibits the beta-lactamase enzyme produced by bacteria that would otherwise make the Amoxicillin inactive.

When combined into one administration, the drugs work synergistically to treat a variety of bacterial infections, many of which may have otherwise been resistant to Amoxicillin alone.

Veterinary Medicine Uses for Amoxicillin/Clavulanate

Amoxicillin/Clavulanate can have several uses in veterinary medicine. Some of its most-common uses include infections caused by susceptible bacteria, as well as bacterial infections such as:
  • Wound Infections
  • Skin Infections
  • Bone Infections
  • Infections in the Mouth
  • Bladder Infections
  • Pneumonia
Amoxicillin/Clavulanate can be a highly effective treatment choice for bacterial infections; however, the patient can develop a resistance to the drug with prolonged use. In such cases, the bacteria can prove unresponsive to the medicine and other antibiotics may need to be considered. Because Amoxicillin/Clavulanate is an antibacterial agent, it is not effective against viral or parasitic infections.

Potential Side-Effects of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate

One of the things that makes Amoxicillin/Clavulanate a popular drug combination is that the medication is appropriate when administered according to a veterinarian's prescribed directions. However, precautions still need to be considered. For instance, Amoxicillin/Clavulanate should not be prescribed to a patient that has a known allergy to either Amoxicillin or Clavulanate.

The most-common side effects of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate include vomiting and/or diarrhea. To help prevent vomiting, the patient should be fed prior to the dose administration. In cases where the patient experiences diarrhea, it is typically the result of the intestinal bacteria being affected by the Amoxicillin. If the vomiting or diarrhea persist, then the pet should be seen by the veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Drug Interactions with Amoxicillin/Clavulanate

Amoxicillin/Clavulanate can interact with other medications. Two common drugs known to interact with this combo are tetracycline and chloramphenicol. Any time a patient is taking other medications, the veterinarian should be made aware so potential drug interactions can be avoided.

Precautions for Using Amoxicillin/Clavulanate

Amoxicillin/Clavulanate generally is appropriate for use in cats and dogs, but it should never be administered to small animals like ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, or hamsters because the antibiotic nature of the medicine affects the normal bacteria in a small animal's gastrointestinal tract, as this can cause potentially fatal diarrhea.

The appropriateness of this drug for use in pregnant or breeding patients has not been determined, so in most cases, the veterinarian will prescribe it based on a risk vs. reward basis.

Dosage and Administration of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate

Amoxicillin/Clavulanate is available in tablets, capsules, and liquid formulations. The dosage, frequency of administration, and duration of treatment are based on a wide variety of factors, including the breed and size of the pet, and the type and severity of the infection being treated.

It is extremely important to administer the medication exactly as prescribed by the veterinarian. Missing doses can result in the bacterial infection developing a resistance to the antibiotic, so the prescription needs to be followed as thoroughly as possible.
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