Clindamycin is a lincosamide antibiotic that is used by veterinarians to treat bacterial and protozoal infections of various types in cats and dogs. It has greater activity than its predecessor, lincomycin.

Bacterial Infections Treated With Clindamycin

Clindamycin is a popular choice among veterinarians for the suppression and treatment of bacterial infections like skin infections, wound infections, bone infections, dental infections and other infections of the oral cavity, as well as pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections. It is a drug of choice for fighting anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that grows in an environment without oxygen).

It has also been used in the treatment of certain protozoal infections, including toxoplasmosis. Clindamycin is not effective against viral or fungal infections.

How Is Clindamycin Supplied?

Clindamycin is available under the trade names Antirobe® and Cleocin®. It is available in several manufactured forms including oral capsules, topical gel, and injectable. Veterinary compounding pharmacies also customize formulations of the drug, including oral capsule, oral suspension, and oral chewable. Clindamycin requires a prescription from a veterinarian in order to obtain it for the veterinary patient.

Clindamycin Precautions and Drug Interactions

While clindamycin is safe for some veterinary patients, including cats and dogs, it should not be used to treat infections in small animals such as rabbits, chinchillas, hamsters and guinea pigs, as it may affect bacteria that are normally found in the gastrointestinal tracts of these animals. It should also not be used for horses.

It is important to consult with your veterinarian regarding your pet’s current drug regimen, as some medications can interact with clindamycin, such as cyclosporine and erythromycin.

Possible Side Effects of Clindamycin

Clindamycin may cause certain side effects in some animals. The most common possible side effects associated with this medication are diarrhea, vomiting and loss of appetite. The oral suspension formulation of clindamycin can be especially bitter. It is not uncommon for cats to attempt to refuse the medication or start drooling after a dose has been given. Suspension flavoring may help mitigate this response, though bitterness can be a difficult characteristic to mask.

Author: Giano Panzarella