General Description: An oral cephalosporin antibiotic used to treat many common bacterial infections in dogs and cats (ex. urinary tract, skin and soft tissue, bone and respiratory tract infections). Cephalexin may be given with meals. Cephalexin is available in capsules, tablets or as an oral suspension.
What is this drug?
1 st generation cephalosporin; an antibiotic
Given by mouth
Reasons for prescribing:
Useful broad spectrum antibiotic most often prescribed for common and uncomplicated infections
Especially useful against Staphylococcal infections (ex. deep skin infections)
What dogs/cats should not take this medication?
Use with caution in pets with kidney failure or a history of seizures
Use with caution in pregnant animals
Pets whom have had previous allergic reactions to penicillin, other cephalosporins or antibiotics
Give medication as directed by your veterinarian. It is usually given two to three times a day.
Missed doses reduce the effectiveness of therapy.
Read and follow the label carefully.
Give the exact amount prescribed and only as often as directed.
Give this medication for as long as your veterinarian directs. Call ahead for refills.
For liquids, shake well before accurately measuring the dose.
May be given with food.
Ideally, give the medication at the same time daily.
What if a dose is missed?
If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can. If it is time already for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule. Do not give two doses at the same time.
What to tell/ask veterinarian before giving medication?
Talk to your veterinarian about:
When will your pet need to be rechecked
What tests may need to be performed prior to and during treatment with this drug
Risks and benefits of using this drug
Tell your veterinarian about:
If your pet has experienced side-effects on other drugs/products
If your pet has experienced digestive upset now or ever
If your pet has experienced kidney disease now or ever
If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
All medicines and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet’s medicines can be given together.
If your pet is pregnant or nursing or if you plan to breed your pet
Storage and Warnings:
Store capsules and powder in a tight, light resistant, childproof container in a cool, dry place at room temperature away from heat and direct sunlight.
Once reconstituted, the oral suspension is stable for two weeks (refrigeration is recommended). Shake well before using.
Keep this and all medication out of reach of children and pets.
Call your physician immediately if you accidentally take this product.
Pet owners who are allergic to penicillin and/or other antibiotics should avoid handling this drug.
Potential side effects:
This medication is usually well tolerated by dogs and cats and is commonly used for several months
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may be experienced but is alleviated by giving medication with food
Possible fever in cats. Fever in a cat is a temperature higher than 103ºF/39.5 ºC. Inform your veterinarian and another antibiotic will need to be selected.
Hyperexcitability, panting and drooling has been reported in the occasional dog
Potential for skin rashes in some pets
May increase blood levels if used with probenicid
If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian
Can this drug be given with other drugs?
Cephalosporins are often used together with other antibiotics in order to cover a broad group of bacteria when the infectious agent is unknown.
These drugs may interact with cephalexin: aminoglycosides (gentamicin, neomycin), amphotericin B, chloramphenicol, oral anticoagulants (blood thinners), penicillin and probenecid.
Unlikely to cause significant problems, but stomach upset is likely.
Contact your veterinarian if pet eats more than the prescribed amount.
What else should I know?
Cephalexin normally has a strong sulfurous odor which may smell like cat urine.
As with all prescribed medicines, cephalexin should only be given to the dog/cat for which it was prescribed. It should be given only for the condition for which it was prescribed.
Notify your veterinarian if your animal’s condition does not improve or worsens despite this treatment.
This is just a summary of information about cephalexin. If you have any questions or concerns about cephalexin or the condition it was prescribed for, contact your veterinarian.