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What is clindamycin? Clindamycin for dogs and cats is a broad-spectrum antibiotic medication used to treat infections. It is effective in combating gram-positive aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria, or some protozoal infections.

Clindamycin is absorbed orally, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and is partially metabolized in the liver. It exits the system through urine, feces, and bile. It fights infection by penetrating the affected bones, joints, organs (such as the heart), tissue, abscesses, or peritoneal fluid. 

What is clindamycin used for? Clindamycin may be prescribed for caring for animals with the following conditions:

  • Wounds
  • Abscesses 
  • Pyoderma
  • Bone infections (like osteomyelitis).
  • Dental infections (periodontitis, gingivitis).
  • Staphylococcus/streptococci 
  • Toxoplasma/toxoplasmosis
  • Respiratory infections
  • Post-surgery infections
  • Soft-tissue infections
  • Pneumonia 

In some cases, a veterinarian may prescribe this antibiotic for off-label use. Always follow the veterinarian’s instructions and advice carefully.

Clindamycin Side Effects

There may be adverse effects while taking clindamycin. Please observe animals in your care for the clindamycin side effects listed below.

Common Side Effects:

  • Gastrointestinal upset: nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Gastrointestinal irritation.
  • Esophagitis
  • Esophageal stricture
  • Hypersalivation

When injected, clindamycin does not cause GI distress, however, with injection there may be localized pain.

Less Common Side Effects:

As with most drugs, there is some risk of an allergic reaction. Call your veterinarian right away if you think your pet is having an allergic reaction to this medication.

Puppies may have dehydration from diarrhea if clindamycin gets into their system through the mother’s placenta in utero or if it passes through the mother’s milk.

Liver enzyme elevation might also occur while taking this medication. 


Side Effects for Dogs:

There are some effects that dogs are more susceptible to. As mentioned above, liver enzyme elevation may occur, so dogs on this medication for longer than a month will need to have a blood test to check kidney and liver function.

While either dogs or cats may experience GI issues, watch for weight loss or bloody diarrhea with dogs. When is diarrhea severe, bloody, or happens for several days, contact your veterinarian. Liquid clindamycin is bitter in taste, and this may cause some dogs to refuse it or salivate excessively after consumption. 

This medication should be used with caution with dogs who have preexisting allergies that cause skin conditions (atopic).

If you see signs of severe adverse reactions such as fever, chills, jaundice, mouth/face, hives, scratching, labored breathing, shock, seizures, pale gums, swelling, dark urine, or the lack thereof, cease the medication and call your veterinarian right away.

Side Effects for Cats:

As with puppies, kittens may also show signs of side effects after nursing on mother’s milk.

Cats are prone to certain common side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea. You might notice your cat drooling or smacking its lips after administering the medication.

Again, call your veterinarian right away if you see signs of serious or an allergic reaction to clindamycin.

Clindamycin Precautions

Clindamycin for dogs and cats may not be right for all patients. Tell your veterinarian if your cat or dog has a history of any of the issues listed below.

  • Kidney disease or dysfunction
  • Liver disease or dysfunction 
  • Colitis
  • Asthma
  • Allergies causing skin reactions (such as eczema).
  • Sensitivity or allergic reactions to medications similar to clindamycin (azithromycin or lincomycin).

Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any and all medications your cat or dog is taking or will begin taking while on clindamycin. There may be interactions with the medications listed below.

  • Erythromycin (antibiotic)
  • Aminophylline
  • Ranitidine HCl
  • Ceftriaxone sodium
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Pancuronium 
  • Opiates
  • Some vitamins, supplements, or herbal remedies.

Contact your veterinarian immediately or seek emergency care in the event of an allergic reaction, bloody stools, trouble swallowing/eating, or a possible overdose. Also, contact your veterinarian if conditions do not improve or worsen after a few days.


Clindamycin for dogs and cats is available as an oral liquid, tablets, and capsules. 

Special Instructions:

  • Never give medication as a dry pill, especially when giving pills to cats. This could cause injury to the throat, esophagus, and it may cause ulcers. Administer tablets or capsules with a moist treat, food, or a small amount of water.
  • Make sure you receive adequate instruction on how to administer the medication to your pet. Follow the instructions and dosing amounts exactly.
  • Finish the medication even when symptoms have completely cleared up.
  • Provide plenty of water when giving a dose. This helps the animal to swallow the medication without harm.
  • Refrigerate liquid clindamycin to improve the taste. Mixing it with food also solves the problem of its bitter taste.
  • Never give two doses to make up for a missed dose. Instead, give the dose as soon as possible and if the next dose is scheduled soon, skip that dose and resume the normal schedule. 
  • Store clindamycin at room temperature in an airtight container, away from sunlight.

Clindamycin for Dogs Dosage

Clindamycin dosage for dogs is typically 5 mg for every pound the patient weighs every 12 hours, or 10 mg per pound every 24 hours.

Dosing may also vary depending on the diagnosis,

  • Abscesses, dental infections, or wound infections: 2.5 to 15 mg per pound in weight twice a day for up to 28 days.
  • Staphylococcal dermatitis: 5 mg per pound in weight for 7 to 28 days.
  • Osteomyelitis: 5 mg per pound in weight twice per day for 28 days.
  • Toxoplasmosis: 5.6 mg per pound in weight every 12 hours for 28 days.

Clindamycin for Cats Dosage

Clindamycin dosage for cats ranges from 2.5 mg for every pound the patient weighs every 12 hours to 10 mg per pound every 24 hours orally. As with dogs, the dose and frequency for cats depend on what type of infection is being treated.


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