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The dosage for an antibiotic for my dog?

[From Tufts June 2010 Issue]

Yesterday my dog had his teeth cleaned by a vet, who has prescribed 100 milligrams of Amoxicillin twice a day for 10 days. I am concerned about giving him too much Amoxicillin over that period of time. What is the correct dosage after teeth cleaning?
Barry S. Zisman
Frisco, Texas

I hope your pet is doing well after his anesthesia and teeth cleaning. You ask if there is a correct dosage (yes) and duration (no) of treatment after dental cleaning. Please allow me to explain.

The dose of Amoxicillin is based upon the dog’s weight. The correct dose is 5 milligrams per pound of body weight twice daily. So if your dog weighs 10 pounds, the dose would be 10 pounds x 5 mg/lb = 50 mg twice daily. The dose may be increased to 10 mg/lb twice daily in severe infections. Because Amoxicillin is supplied in 50, 100, 150, and 200 mg sized tablets for dogs, veterinarians will often round the dose to the closest 50 mg.

The duration of administration is harder to determine. In some cases Amoxicillin may be used to prevent infection after cleaning — trauma to the gums may allow an infection to develop. To prevent infection, a short course of treatment (approximately three days) may be all that is needed. In cases of severe gum disease (periodontitis), then a longer course of treatment would be needed, and four weeks of treatment would not be unusual.

So I can offer the correct dosage of Amoxicillin, but the length of therapy really depends upon the severity of the condition being treated. The correct duration of therapy for your pet is best determined by your veterinarian. A 10-day course of treatment does not sound unreasonable and I wouldn’t be worried about any long-term harm from that length of therapy.

Best of luck to you and your pet!
Michael Stone DVM, DACVIM
(Small Animal Internal Medicine)
Cummings School

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