Over-medicating kittens

kittensFebruary 12, 2010

I have a question about the effects of incorrectly administering medication to kittens. The medication in question is Doxycycline, dosage 100mg, in tablet form. (It comes in a bottle that looks like the kind on Petmeds.com). This would be for kittens weighing 3-4 pounds but I'm also wondering how a younger kitten would react.

My veterinarian told me that it was dangerous and can cause damage to the esophagus, particularly if it was split in half because it breaks the protective coating. What would be the signs of damage to the esophagus? Could that account for digestive problems (ie. food intolerance)or would that be an entirely separate matter? Would the kitten end up resistant to other properly dosed antibiotics or would his body adjust back to normal?

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According to The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic, and "Tetracycline can retard bone growth and discolor teeth. If possible, it should not be used in the young puppy or kitten."

Common side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss in interest in food. Cats may also exhibit stomach pain, fever, hair loss, and depression. Rare side effects include photosensitivity, liver damage, and changes in blood cells.

Why, exactly, are you giving Doxy to young kittens, and why are you cutting pills when your vet has warned against it?


    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 12:45PM
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I'm not.

I'm interested in the after-care. If there was liver damage, would that show up right away within a few months or is it something that one should re-screen for? I will look up the information on photosensitivity, I'm sure I can find some write-ups about it. I don't understand 'changes in blood cells' (sorry). Do they mean like the amount of oxygen they carry or something more serious?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 1:52PM
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Esophagus problems can lead to regurgitation and inability of the kittens to keep food down. Changes in blood cells include increased fragility of red blood cells leading to decreased oxygen carrying capability. Liver damage can occur as a result of red blood cell destruction and directly by doxy- it can cause liver failure and it can happen rather quickly.

I would NEVER prescribe doxycycline to kittens. EVER. There are plenty of effective antibiotics that don't cause permanent cartilage damage and esophagitis. And 50mg is an insanely high dose for any cat. It's no wonder your vet told you it is dangerous to give doxy to kittens- it is VERY dangerous. A vet who prescribed that dose in a kitten would lose their license.

If the kittens need medical attention, stop playing around with dosing dangerous drugs yourself and get the kitten to the vet ASAP. You are causing more harm than good.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 3:15PM
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They came from this situation. He never elaborated more about the medication other than identifying it and the esophagus damage but it's plagued me over the year what/if any continued damage this causes our kittens. I have a new vet now, so I will ask him if I should have the liver checked again (they checked everything before altering and all was okay).

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 8:55PM
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Sorry, I misunderstood when you said the dose "WOULD be for kittens weighing 3-4 pounds." Sounded like you were planning to do it, not that it had been done a while ago.

If they survived the overdose of doxy then they should be OK as far as liver damage goes- the liver is highly regenerative and can bounce back from most insults. No need to test the liver at this point, if I am understanding correctly that the medication was given a year and a half ago.

They may still have cartilage damage leading to early onset arthritis and more fragile bones. The esophagus problems happen while being medicated, not afterward. My concern with the kittens is to the bones and cartilage at this point. That is irreversible.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 10:40AM
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