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Tylosin for Dogs and Cats

Does your dog or cat have chronic gastrointestinal issues? Determining the cause and finding an appropriate course of treatment can be difficult. If your dog or cat has ongoing stomach problems, you’ve probably tried dog vitamins, cat supplements and specially formulated pet nutrition to help ease your pet’s distress. But if your pet hasn't been responding to these interventions, it may be time to consult veterinary services to see if tylosin antibiotics can help ease your pet's discomfort.

What is tylosin?

Tylosin tartrate is a prescription antibiotic that also has anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions in dogs, cats and small mammals. Its most common uses are for chronic diarrhea and colitis, or colon inflammation. It’s also commonly given for inflammatory bowel disease and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, an enzyme deficiency. And thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, tylosin can sometimes be used to treat respiratory and skin infections. 

While it has been prescribed for decades to help treat bacterial infections in farm animals and livestock, tylosin for dogs and cats is used extra-labelly. Extra-label use of medication is common in veterinary medicine and is used when a medication is shown effective but is not specifically labeled for that species or use. Just be sure to administer it as prescribed by your veterinarian to help ensure peak performance. 

Tylan (Tylosin) 100 grams

How do I give my pet tylosin?

Tylosin generally comes in a powder form. Tylosin powder can be mixed with food or put into a capsule and given by mouth due to its bitter taste. As a capsule, it can be provided with or without food. If you give your pet tylosin without food and they have an adverse reaction, try administering it with food. It’s also available in liquid form as an injectable, but this is less common. 

You should give tylosin as prescribed by your veterinarian. If you forget a dose, provide it as soon as you remember. If too much time has passed, however, you can skip the missed amount. Don’t give your pet a double dose or extra tylosin to make up for a missed quantity. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

How does tylosin work?

Tylosin is a bacteriostatic antibiotic. It works by preventing bacteria from reproducing, which allows your pet’s natural defenses to eliminate the bacteria on their own. Tylosin is also an anti-inflammatory, helping to stop swelling and inflammation and providing your pet with relief and recovery time.  

How long does it take for tylosin to work?

While it can start working within one to two hours of the first dose, it may take 24 hours to three days to see the full effects and eliminate symptoms like diarrhea. 

Is there a generic version of tylosin?

Tylosin tartrate is the full generic name for this drug, but it’s frequently referred to as tylosin. It’s also known by its brand name—Tylan®. Your veterinarian may prescribe either the generic or the brand-name version. Tylosin powder is available in Petco’s online dog or cat pharmacy with a valid prescription from your vet. 

How much tylosin can I give my pet?

The appropriate dosage of this antibiotic will likely depend on your pet’s species, size and age. Always follow your vet’s guidance when administering medication.

What pets shouldn’t take tylosin?

Tylosin for dogs and cats should never be given to horses or pets who are allergic to antibiotics and should be used with caution in pregnant, lactating and breeding females. It may interact negatively with digoxin—a drug prescribed for heart disease in dogs—as well as phenobarbital, midazolam and chloramphenicol. This antibiotic can also cause false readings in specific lab tests. In addition, if your pet has been on erythromycin—another macrolide antibiotic—they may be resistant to tylosin. That’s why it’s always important to consult your veterinarian before starting a new drug regimen. 

Tylosin side effects

Tylosin side effects are rare but can include loss of appetite and increased diarrhea. An overdose may cause similar symptoms, although it is relatively uncommon since its sour taste means most pets don’t want to eat it. If it’s injected, your pet may experience redness and swelling around the injection site. If you notice these side effects, consult your veterinarian. 

How long should my dog take tylosin?

The length of time your veterinarian will recommend using tylosin will vary depending on the severity of your pet’s condition, but it’s typically prescribed for up to 12 weeks. Long-term use of tylosin for dogs  is considered appropriate for most health conditions. It may be provided as an alternative to metronidazole, a drug used for a similar purpose but that is not regarded as ideal for long-term use. However, as with any antibiotic, your pet may develop a resistance to tylosin. If you have questions, talk to your veterinarian. 

Does tylosin expire?

Yes, tylosin does expire. All prescription drugs will come with an expiration date on the package because over time, medications degrade and their chemical composition changes, meaning they may become less effective. Properly stored tylosin will last until its expiration date but should be discarded after that.

How do you store tylosin properly?

Keep it at room temperature in an airtight container away from light. 

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Reviewed by Dr. Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM

As Petco’s Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Miller is the lead veterinary subject matter expert, overseeing the company’s standards of excellence in animal care and welfare, growth in pet services and much more. Dr. Miller leads Petco’s medical team, supporting over 200 full-service hospitals and mobile vaccination clinics operating in over 1,000 Petco Pet Care Centers nationwide