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Should we continue with antibiotics?

Species: Cat
Breed: tabi short hair
Age: 5-8 years
Dear Dr. Marie,

I'm writing about my cat who had a skin allergy which started last August. I've written to you before about it and I also asked you a question about her asthma.

So to recap, she got the skin problem last August. She went through a lot of testing biopsy, steroids and it finally went away in October.

It came back again in December but not as strong and that's when I emailed you and you suggested I go to a Dermatologist which is what I did. She was prescribed Clindamycin on Dec. 16 for 2 weeks. She stopped scratching and she was fine until about a month or so later when the scratching started again and again it wasn't very strong but the doctor put her back on the anti-biotic on Feb.12. She was on for 2 weeks again and was supposed to be on longer but for an administrative problem with the hospital which resulted in her stopping on Feb. 27 with a 4 day break.

She started back again on March 3 and has been on it ever since. So since March 3, she's been on it for what will be 6 weeks this Wednesday Apr. 13.

Now the doctor is afraid of stopping the anti-biotic completely and suggests that after the 6 week mark, that she stay on it at a reduced dose for another month - only one dose a day (1ml) in 24 hours instead of 2 doses every 12 hours.

I'm also worried about the scratching coming back but am also worried about her being on the anti-biotic for so long. So I wanted to ask you your opinion on continuing the anti-biotic. Do you think it's a good idea to continue long term on the reduced dose?

Also I should tell you that a few of weeks ago Mar.25, I asked you a question about her asthma which was getting worse and you suggested that she take the steroid inhaler which she'd been prescribed but I hadn't given her. I had only given her the bronchial one up to that point but it wasn't helping. I was holding off giving her the steroidal one because I was afraid it would affect her scratching problem but you said you thought it would be okay.

After 2 doses of the steroid inhaler, she did start scratching again so I stopped giving it to her but her asthma improved anyways and after a few days her scratching also stopped.

Thank you again for your help.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Corinne! Thanks for coming back. I'm glad to hear that your girl is doing well.

It sounds like this skin problem was indeed a nasty one. When we have cases like this the worst thing we can do is to stop the antibiotics too soon. If there is any type of resistant infection then if we stop too soon we can have it come back even worse than it was before. So, I like the idea that your vet had to continue but at a lower dose. I know it's a bit of a pain to give the medication but hopefully this will solve the problem for her!

What you've written about the inhaler is interesting. I really can't see that the inhaler caused the scratching, but anything is possible. I'm glad that things improved though, no matter what the solution was!

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Hi Dr. Marie,

Thanks for your reply. I'm not concerned about the inconvenience of giving her the anti-biotic so much as the impact it is having on her little body. She's been on it almost 8 weeks if I include the first two weeks before the four day break. And I know for humans anti-biotics are hard on the body. I imagine the same is for cats, no? But I will continue on the low dose and see how she does.

Regarding the inhaler, I hope I'm wrong about it cause I may have to give it to her again as her asthma may be getting worse again. But she wasn't scratching the back of her ears for a couple of weeks and after the second dose of inhaler, she started scratching again so I made the connection. After I stopped, she was still scratching for a day or so and then stopped.

Thanks again for your help.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I really wouldn't say that antibiotics are hard on the body. What's harder on the body would be recurrence of an infection! Now, it may be a different story if the antibiotics were causing her stomach upset. But if she's done well so far, then continuing really won't be hard on her system.

You're very welcome!

Dr. Marie.

Customer reply:

Okay, that puts it into perspective.

Thanks again.


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.