As cat owners, we do what we can to keep our cats as healthy as possible. But sometimes even with our best efforts, our cats will fill sick and require medical attention and medication.
One common treatment option is the use of penicillin which is an antibiotic for curing bacterial infections.
But how much should you give, and what should you know about this medication?
In this article, we’ll provide you with essential information on penicillin for cats, including dosages, administration, and potential side effects.
What Is Penicillin?
Penicillin is an antibiotic or a group of antibiotics that are used to treat and prevent a number of bacterial infections in both humans and animals.
Penicillin doesn’t work well on viral infections like a cold or flu when aspirin or Tylenol can do a better job.
This drug was ‘accidentally’ created in 1928 by Alexander Flemming. It grew to become one of the most widely used and popular drugs in human history.
How Does Penicillin Work?
Penicillin works by attacking the bacterial cell walls which the bacteria rely on for survival.
By weakening these cell walls, penicillin causes the bacteria to become vulnerable and unable to maintain their structure.
As a result, the bacteria eventually burst and die.
This allows your cat’s immune system to clear the infection and help them recover.
Aggressive yet effective.
Can Cats Take Penicillin?
Penicillin has been used on cats to treat a large spectrum of bacterial infections for many years. It is commonly used to treat:
- Respiratory diseases
- Staphylococcus diseases
- Ear diseases
- Skin diseases
The most common type of penicillin used by vets is called Penicillin G.
The thing about Penicillin G is that it is an antibiotic that can only be prescribed by your vet and not bought over the counter.
Vets are careful when prescribing antibiotics such as Penicillin G to pets as there are many bacteria that have grown resistant to penicillin.
Animals can react really badly to medication not meant to treat an existing condition or for their specific species.
How Much Penicillin To Give A Cat?
Determining the precise dosage of penicillin for a cat is crucial to ensure safe and effective treatment.
It is important to note that the dosage of penicillin is primarily dependent on the cat’s weight and the severity of the infection.
Make sure to get the right penicillin dosage from your vet first.
A general guideline is to administer 20,000-40,000 units per kilogram of the cat’s body weight.
This can be done via injection into the skin or muscle of the cat every 6-8 hours.
For penicillin in oral form, the recommended dosage is 50mg or 5-10mg per pound of body weight once a day.
Give this medicine 1-2 hours on an empty stomach for better absorption.
It is best to continue giving your cat penicillin for 1-2 days after full recovery just to be sure that all the bacteria are eliminated.
How To Give A Cat A Shot Of Penicillin?
Injections are the more commonly used methods of administering penicillin to a cat.
If you have any form of penicillin at home, never use it on your cat without first consulting your vet.
It might not be the best type of antibiotic that your cat needs for its condition and it can even cause an allergic reaction when used without any medical supervision.
If you have never given your cat an injection before, it can prove to be a challenging task.
Watch your vet to see how it’s done and do the same at home.
If you are not confident then it’s best to bring your cat back daily to the vet for its jab until you get the hang of it.
Here’s a video that does a good job of explaining the right way to inject your cat.
How Fast Does Penicillin Work In Cats?
Penicillin’s effectiveness in cats can vary on factors such as the type of infection, the severity of the infection, and the cat’s overall health.
Penicillin works rather fast in cats, taking only 1-2 to have an effect on their bodies. It might take 24 hours for your cat to experience any relief of symptoms.
Gradual improvements in your cat’s condition can be seen over the course of the antibiotic.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Penicillin?
Although penicillin has a wide safety profile and margin in cats, there are some side effects that your cat might exhibit if it’s more sensitive to this group of antibiotics.
The common symptoms are:
- Lack of appetite
- Skin rash
- Difficulty breathing
- Unable to walk properly
When my cat is on antibiotics, the most common symptom that he has is diarrhea.
This is because penicillin eliminates the harmful bacteria in not only your cat’s body but also the healthy gut flora in its digestive system.
This kinda messes up his poop for a few days before returning to normal.
Don’t hesitate to let your vet know if your cat isn’t handling the penicillin well.
If your cat has a severe reaction to penicillin, the vet will have to prescribe an alternative antibiotic.
Dos And Don’ts When Giving Antibiotics To Cats
There are a couple of important things to note when your cat is on a course of antibiotics.
If you miss a dosage, do not double up on the next dosage as that can cause an overdose in your cat.
Just give your cat the correct dosage as instructed.
If you need to give your cat antibiotics 2 hours earlier, you need to take note of the timing intervals.
If the dosage is once every 4-6 hours, then 2 hours earlier might be too soon.
Check with your vet first.
Always make sure to finish the entire course given by the vet.
If you stop it too soon, the bacteria will become resistant to this specific type of antibiotic or the infection can come back.
Dangers Of Antibiotics Overdose
Accidents do happen and there have been times when a pet owner unknowingly overdosed the cat. Always be sure about how much penicillin to give a cat.
It is possible for your cat to overdose on antibiotics if given too much.
The common side effects are:
- Loss of appetite
I would strongly advise you to inform your vet about the incident and see what’s the next best step. If the dosage is too high, you will need to bring your cat for medical treatment.
The vet will have to induce vomiting to get the cat to regurgitate its stomach contents.