What is Terramycin®?
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Terramycin® ophthalmic ointment treats eye infections in dogs, cats, and other animals. It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means that it can kill many types of bacteria.
Terramycin® ophthalmic ointment is an FDA-approved animal OTC drug, which means that it is available without a prescription in most of the United States (a prescription is required in California).
Although it is available without a prescription, it is important to consult your veterinarian before giving it to your pet because what looks like an eye infection may actually be a severe eye condition like eosinophilic keratoconjunctivitis, which is suspected to be caused by a virus and cannot be treated with an antibiotic. Only your veterinarian can rule out these serious conditions and accurately diagnose your pet.
How Terramycin® Works
Terramycin® ophthalmic ointment treats pink eye and other eye infections of the conjunctiva, cornea, or eyelid. In addition, veterinarians may prescribe Terramycin® to treat corneal ulcers (an open sore on the clear surface of the eye). Terramycin® also treats eye infections that result from body-wide infectious diseases, such as distemper in dogs.
The active ingredients in Terramycin® ophthalmic ointment are oxytetracycline and polymyxin B. Oxytetracycline is an antibiotic that kills susceptible bacteria by disrupting their ability to make certain proteins that are required for the bacteria to survive. Oxytetracycline can also help heal corneal ulcers by blocking specific proteins that damage the cornea. Polymyxin B kills organisms by altering their cell membranes. These active ingredients work together to kill a wide range of bacteria.
The use of antibiotics, including Terramycin® ophthalmic ointment, can result in the overgrowth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Talk to your veterinarian if your pet’s infection does not resolve or worsens.
Follow the directions on the drug label or as provided by your veterinarian.
Wash your hands before administering Terramycin® or any other eye medication.
To avoid contamination, do not touch the applicator tip with your finger, your pet’s eye, or any other object.
Apply a ¼-inch strip of ointment to the affected eye(s) 2-4 times per day, or as directed by your veterinarian. To apply, gently pull down the lower eyelid and apply the medication into the space between the lid and the eye.
The eyelid will spread the medication over the surface of the eye when your pet blinks.
Gently wipe any remaining medication from your pet’s skin or face with a tissue or damp washcloth.
Wait 5-10 minutes after use before applying any other eye medications.
Contact your veterinarian if you have difficulty administering this medication or have any questions regarding the treatment.
Pregnant women should avoid contact with Terramycin®. The oral and injectable formulations of the drug can cause birth defects. If you are pregnant, careful handling of Terramycin® with gloves is recommended. You can also have someone else administer this medication to your pet or ask your veterinarian for an alternative drug.
Missed a Dose?
If you forget a dose, apply the medication when you remember and resume your dosing schedule. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not give extra or double doses.
Terramycin® Possible Side Effects
Life-threatening allergic reactions can occur, especially in cats. Emergency veterinary care is often necessary. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet exhibits any of the following signs:
Swelling of the face
Animals typically tolerate Terramycin® ophthalmic ointment very well. However, eye irritation or redness may occur.
Talk to your veterinarian before using Terramycin® in young or pregnant animals. Oral or injectable Terramycin® can impact bone development and cause discoloration of the teeth in young, growing animals. High doses or long-term use can delay growth and healing. Birth defects can occur in unborn animals.
Call Your Vet If:
Side effects are seen (see above)
Your pet eats or ingests the eye ointment
You see or suspect an overdose
If your pet’s infection does not resolve or worsens
Call your vet or pharmacist if you have additional questions or concerns about the use of Terramycin® ophthalmic ointment.
Terramycin® Overdose Information
How long should I give my cat Terramycin®?
Give Terramycin® for as long as is directed by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will determine the treatment length based on your pet’s signs and type of infection. Typically, your veterinarian will have you continue treatment for a few days after the signs of the infection resolve.
What does Terramycin® treat?
Terramycin® ophthalmic ointment treats pink eye and other infections of the eye. Veterinarians may also prescribe Terramycin® to treat an open sore on the clear surface of the eye (called a corneal ulcer). Terramycin® has also been used to treat eye infections that result from other illnesses, such as distemper in dogs.
Can I inject my dog with Terramycin®?
No. Do not inject your dog with any medication, including Terramycin®, unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. The injectable and oral forms of Terramycin® are labeled for use in food animals (such as cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry). Large animals receive much higher doses of Terramycin®, and products made for them can easily result in an overdose if given to a dog. In addition, only your veterinarian should use injectable Terramycin® because it is typically given intravenously (IV). Inappropriately given IV injections can result in severe side effects.
Featured Image: iStock.com/Vonschonertagen
The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a veterinarian. If you believe your animal is experiencing a medical emergency, call your veterinarian office immediately or seek immediate care from your local animal hospital.