Clavamox for Dogs: All You Need to Know About This Antibiotic

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By: CertaPet Staff Updated: October 5, 2020

Clavamox for Dogs

If your dog has been treated for an infection, there’s a good chance the vet reached for the Clavamox for dogs. The latter is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that’s highly effective at treating soft tissue infections in dogs and even cats. Continue reading to learn more about Clavamox for dogs!

Amox Clav: What is Clavamox for Dogs?

Clavamox for dogs is an antibiotic that belongs to the penicillin family. This medicine is a great example of two things being more powerful combined than they are when individual.

With clavulanate added to the amoxicillin, this powerful combination can overcome some strains of bacteria which would otherwise be resistant.

Developed for dogs and cats, Clavamox is available in three forms: An injectable, oral drops, and tablets. Thus Clavamox for dogs is used for all size of dogs from a teacup pup up to a giant Great Dane.  Indeed, it’s also safe for use in cats.

Amox-Clav 875 mg Tablets

Clavamox tablets are available in a range of sizes:

  • 50mg (most commonly prescribed for cats or dogs under 6kg)
  • 250mg (suites medium sized dogs)
  • 500mg (for large dogs)
  • 875 mg (giant dogs)

The tablet size can be a little confusing because it’s only the amoxicillin part which is given label room. For example, a 50mg tablet contains 50mg of amoxicillin PLUS an unheralded 12.5mg of clavulanic acid.

Clavamox Drops

For tiny patients were cutting up a 50mg tablet is impractical, then Clavamox drops are the answer. These tasty pediatric drops are easy to give. Simply make up the solution then slowly drip it into the patient’s mouth.

Clavamox for dogs can be given with or without food, which is helpful if Kitty isn’t eating or clever at spotting doctored meals.

These Dog Antibiotics are the Perfect Combination of Amoxicillin Clavulanate

One of the reasons Clavamox for dogs is so effective is the clever way amoxicillin and clavulanate are combined.

In this duo, it’s the amoxicillin which destroys the bacteria. But amoxicillin can be damaged by certain enzymes (called ‘beta-lactamase’) produced by bacteria. For the amoxicillin, this is like entering a war zone with a gun but no protective body armor.

This is where the clavulanate has a role. It acts as body armor by deactivating the beta-lactamase and allowing the amoxicillin to do its job unhindered.

Amoxicillin for Cats

From cat fight abscesses to dental disease, Clavamox heads up the list of first choice antibiotics.

But even the ideal antibiotic won’t work if the cat won’t take it. But fortunately, Clavamox for dogs can cope with this. The tablets are tiny and can be hidden in a tasty treat. And for wily cats that are wise to these tricks, then dosing with the oral liquid is an option.

Amoxicillin Uses in Dogs and Cats!

When it comes to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid antibiotics, dogs and cats have a similar physiology. So whereas cats cannot tolerate certain drugs because of an inability to detox them, this is not the case for Clavamox. Indeed, from an abscess to dental infections, this antibiotic is often a feline’s best friend.

Clavamox for Dog

Amox-Clav a Great Duo for Infections: What Does Amoxicillin and Clavulanate Treat?

This broad spectrum antibiotic destroys various bacteria responsible for soft tissue infections. The antibiotic is excreted in urine, which means it also reaches good concentrations in urinary tract infections.

The most common indications for prescribing Clavamox include:

Clavamox without Vet Prescription? No Way!

Federal Law dictates that a vet’s prescription is needed to supply Clavamox to your pet.

If Clavamox for dogs is so effective, then why restrict sales? Wouldn’t it make sense for every pet parent to have a supply in the medicine cabinet at home?

Actually, the answer is ‘No.’ This is down to the specter of antibiotic resistance which has the potential to stops these vital medicines working. Restrictions on the supply of Clavamox are there to safeguard its effectiveness for future generations of patients.

A vet assesses the patient so as to be sure Clavamox is the most appropriate medication, and indeed if an antibiotic is required at all. Some skin infections don’t require systemic treatment with an oral antibiotic but do just as well with a topical product.

Also, get the dose wrong or don’t dose for long enough and Clavamox isn’t going to work. It’s exactly these ineffective courses of antibiotic which lead to resistance. With Clavamox under the stewardship of veterinary professionals, this goes part way to reducing the risks of the catastrophe of resistance developing.

From Diarrhea to Vomiting: 5 Side Effects of Amoxicillin & Clavulanate to Watch Out for!

Any drug has the potential for side effects. These risks are painstakingly assessed as part of the licensing process. If this sounds alarming, it isn’t meant to be. Think about it! Even water has side effects if drunk to excess!

The side effects of Clavamox are usually mild and related to the gut.

Around one in ten dogs may vomit within 10 minutes of taking a tablet. If this is the case, then giving the dog a small meal ahead of dosing often does the trick.

Another common side effect is mild diarrhea. This is down to disturbing the natural balance of bacteria within the gut. This can be avoided by using dog-appropriate pre- and pro-biotics whilst taking the medicine. These supplements replace the gut bacteria destroyed by the antibiotic and keep the bowel running smoothly.

Occasionally amox-clav can cause skin rashes. However, these can be hard to spot in a hairy hound. If your dog is on antibiotics and starts to scratch excessively, then part their fur and look for skin redness or inflammation.

When Amox-Clav Side Effects get Really Bad, then it’s Time to Visit Your Vet!

If your dog isn’t right and taking antibiotics, then don’t suffer in silence. Your vet wants to know if the treatment isn’t working or the therapy is worse than the condition it’s treating.

But most serious of all is an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. Just as some people have an allergy to penicillin, so dogs can be sensitive to the amoxicillin part of amox-clav.

The symptoms of a severe reaction vary. In the most serious form, the dog could collapse. In which case seek emergency treatment immediately, regardless of what time it is. These anaphylactic or ‘shock’ reactions can be life-threatening so don’t delay seeking help.

Also, severe sickness or diarrhea can lead to dehydration. If the dog isn’t keeping anything down, then see a vet urgently.

Listen to Your Vet when it Comes to Clavamox Dosage for Dogs

For Clavamox to work requires the correct dose, given at the right time interval, and for enough days. If any one of these three factors is out, then the effectiveness is drastically reduced.

The vet calculates the optimal dose based on the dog’s body weight and the severity of the infection.

If the pet is underdosed, this can impact on effectiveness. So if you’re struggling to get the full dose into your dog, let the vet know. They can think of an alternative option so the dog gets the medication they need.

But this is only part of the story. The effective kill-rate of bacteria builds is time-dependent. This makes it important to keep blood levels of Clavamox steady for the duration of the treatment.

Think of this like a deep-freeze. To preserve frozen food and stop bugs breeding the temperature needs to be constantly below zero. A waxing and waning freezer, where the temperature is above freezing part of the day and dips below for the rest, just doesn’t work.

In practical terms, if the dosage is ‘Twice a day’, this means every 12 hours. Be sure to set an alert on your cell phone for 7 am and 7 pm, so that Fido gets the meds at exactly the right time.

Clavamox for Dog side effects

Clavamox Dosage for Cats

Similarly, for cats, the same rules apply. But also know that they need to complete the full course of treatment. Finishing a few days early because Kitty won’t take the tablet, could lead to antibiotic resistance.

What dosage will the vet prescribe for a cat?

For the average sized cat, the dose is simple enough: 62.5mg twice a day by mouth. It’s, therefore, no coincidence that Clavamox 50mg tablets are available for cats (which supplies 62.5mg of both active ingredients)!

5 Facts You Need to Know About Amoxicillin-Clavulanate for Dogs

Use Clavamox correctly and it’s a powerful therapeutic drug. Use it incorrectly and it risk bacterial resistance developing.

  1. Always Complete the Course: Even if your pet is back to normal after a couple of days, always give the medication for the full course.  To do otherwise risks the bacteria mutating and developing resistance.
  2. Give the Medication Exactly as Prescribed: If the label says “Twice a day”, then give every 12 hours. If it says “Three times a day”, give every eight hours. Maintaining blood levels of amox-clav is crucial to effective therapy.
  3. Do NOT Handle Clavamox if You Suffer from Penicillin Allergy: Clavamox belongs to the penicillin family. If you are allergic then tell your vet so they can prescribe a different medication.
  4. Never Give to Rabbits or Guinea Pigs: Amoxicillin destroys vital bacteria in the gut which proves fatal to species such as rabbits or guinea pigs.
  5. Tell the Vet if There’s No Improvement: If despite 2 – 3 days of treatment the dog is not improving, let the vet know. They may send a swab for culture to find which bugs are present and the best antibiotic to kill them.

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