Azithromycin for Cats - Dosage, Uses and Side Effects

Carla Moreira
By Carla Moreira, Veterinarian. April 19, 2023
Azithromycin for Cats - Dosage, Uses and Side Effects

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Azithromycin is an antibiotic for cats which is sold under various preparations. As with human medicine, antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in cats. Theses infections can present in various parts of the cat's organism, such as the genitourinary, respiratory, oral, ocular and cutaneous systems. Azithromycin is particularly indicated for oral infections such as gingivitis and periodontitis, as well as ocular infections. It is for the following treatment that it is also sold in an eye-dropper preparation.

At AnimalWised, we look in more detail at azithromycin for cats, specifically its dosage, uses and side effects. We also stress the importance of its correct usage as improper administration of antibiotics can lead to a worsening of the problem, as well as antibiotic resistance.


  1. What are the azithromycin uses for cats?
  2. Can azithromycin be given to cats?
  3. Azithromycin for cats dosage
  4. Contraindications of azithromycin for cats
  5. Side effects of azithromycin for cats
  6. Alternatives to azithromycin for cats

What are the azithromycin uses for cats?

Antibiotics are substances produced by microorganisms that kill other microorganisms or inhibit their growth. Specifically, the microbes that antibiotics affect are bacteria. These infectious agents can present in various symptoms and can be life threatening. These drugs are developed to be as toxic as possible to the infecting microorganism, but to not harm other parts of the organism. In this way they are said to have selective toxicity.

Azithromycin is the first antibiotic in a relatively new class of substances called azalides. Antibiotics of this group are derived from macrolides. These drugs act by inhibiting the synthesis of bacterial proteins, being effective against a large number of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

Learn about the general use of these antimicrobial medications with our article on giving antibiotics to cats.

Can azithromycin be given to cats?

Yes, azithromycin can be used on cats. This drug is widely used in diseases of the anterior respiratory tract of felines, common in the species. They are especially common in those that live in environments with several individuals such as cat colonies, catteries or homes with five or more cats.

Uses of azithromycin for cats

Cases of feline respiratory disease are often caused by viral agents such as the feline herpesvirus or the feline calicivirus. Azithromycin cannot be used to treat these issues since antibiotics cannot affect viral agents. Azithromycin for cats can be used to combat the following types of bacteria:

  • Chlamydia felis
  • Mycoplasma sp.
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Streptococci spp.
  • Staphylococci spp.
  • Borrelia burgdorferi

Since azithromycin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, these are only some of the bacteria which may be treated by this type of antibiotic for cats. It is important to note that not all bacterial infections can be treated with azithromycin. While these are the bacteria which can be treated by azithromycin, the following are some of the diseases they can cause:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Urethritis (inflammation of the urethra)
  • Otitis (ear infection)
  • Uveitis
  • Skin infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinusitis

Since azithromycin can be used to treat a wide range of ailments, we can find it is sold under the following preparations:

  • Oral tablets
  • Oral suspension
  • Injectable solution
  • Eye drops

What type of preparation is required for your cat will be determined by the veterinarian.

Azithromycin for cats dosage

Pharmacological research indicates that the recommended therapeutic dosage of azithromycin for dogs and cats is 10 to 20 mg/kg orally every 24 hours or 5 to 10 mg/kg every 12 hours. The average duration of azithromycin for cats administration is 7 days. Only the vet can prescribe antibiotics for cats, since they will know the best dose and time of use, considering the different diseases and the response of each animal.

Contraindications of azithromycin for cats

Azithromycin should be used with caution in cats with a history of vomiting. Its use is not recommended during pregnancy or lactation unless the benefits outweigh the related risks. Of course, any cat with an allergic history to this type of antibiotic will require alternative treatment.

Side effects of azithromycin for cats

As with other drugs, azithromycin can cause side effects. In some cases vomiting and diarrhea in cats may occur. It is advisable to administer the medication with food. The use a gastric protector such as omeprazole for cats during treatment may be required, always following the veterinarian's instructions.

Azithromycin for Cats - Dosage, Uses and Side Effects - Side effects of azithromycin for cats

Alternatives to azithromycin for cats

You have already seen that azithromycin can be given to cats. Despite its broad-sprectrum usage, there are several antibiotic options that can be used in addition to azithromycin. Which is used will depend on the causative agent of the disease, the severity of the infection and the cat's response. We will mention some antimicrobials used in cats, but we once again stress that the treatment will always need to be determined by a veterinarian.

1. Amoxicillin and potassium clavulanate

Amoxicillin for cats has a broad spectrum of activity, acting against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Associated with the excellent distribution and persistence of the amoxicillin/clavulanic potassium combination in the animal organism, it allows the drug to be used in various infectious processes in dogs and cats, such as:

  • Skin infections (caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli and Proteus spp.)
  • Respiratory infections (caused by Staphylococcus spp., Pasteurella spp., Bordetella bronchiseptica, Haemophilus spp and Streptococcus spp.)
  • Gastrointestinal tract infections (such as diarrhea caused by Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp., Proteus spp., and Salmonella spp.)
  • Genitourinary and other soft tissue infections such as pyoderma, dermatitis, abscesses, infected wounds (caused by Streptococcus spp., Corynebacterium spp., Bacillus spp., Fusobacterium necrophorum and Moraxella spp.)
  • Periodontal infections caused by susceptible aerobic and anaerobic bacterial strains.

2. Cephalexin

Cephalexin is part of the family of beta-lactam antibiotics, in the group of cephalosporins. This drug works by preventing the synthesis of peptidoglycans in the cell wall of bacteria, causing the death of the microorganism. Cephalexin is widely used for dermatological problems in dogs and cats, and can also be prescribed for cases of bone, lung and other infections.

Learn more about this type of antibiotic with our article on cephalexin for cats.

3. Enrofloxacin

Enrofloxacin is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial from the group of fluoroquinolones. It is widely used in cats, being the drug of choice in the treatment of various diseases. The drug's broad spectrum action, favorable tissue distribution and low toxicity have made it the drug of choice in the treatment of various infectious processes. It it has been successfully administered to millions of dogs and cats since 1990.

4. Penicillin

Penicillin is the first antibiotic to be scientifically identified. It is produced from a fungus, which synthesizes a substance capable of killing or inhibiting the metabolism of bacteria and their replication. This gives the animal's defense system the opportunity to fight the infection. This medication is used for a wide variety of ailments, from skin problems to earaches.

We look into more detail at another type of antibiotic for cats with our related article on doxycycline for cats dosage, uses and side effects.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Azithromycin for Cats - Dosage, Uses and Side Effects, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.

  • Pereira, I. A., et al. (2009). Susceptibility to azithromycin of bacterial agents isolated from infectious processes at different sites in companion animals. Bow. Bras. Medicine. Vet. zootech.

  • Daniel, A. G. T. (2015). Diseases of the anterior respiratory tract in cats. Pet Agents Union Bulletin, Vol. 3. Consulted on 04/11/2023.

  • Ramadinha, R. H. R., et al. (2020). Evaluation of the efficacy of azithromycin in the treatment of pyoderma in dogs. VetSmart. Consulted on 04/11/2023.
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Azithromycin for Cats - Dosage, Uses and Side Effects