HM Cavy Rescue
Antibiotics are serious stuff. They should not be used without consulting a qualified vet first. Any formulary will give medications in gm/kg -- i.e. a particular amount of medication for a particular weight of pig. Any attempt to administer antibiotics in water will result in over or under medication. The only time I have ever heard of anyone trying this is with animals they really are not too concerned with, in an attempt to slow an outbreak of some illness or infection.
I don´t know specifically what the problem with this drug is but Josephine might. My guess is it could be a combination of effectiveness and its effect on the intestinal bacteria so vital to guinea pig health.
All antibiotics affect the intestinal bacteria in some way. It is important to administer antibiotics under the advice and guidance of a qualified vet to ensure an appropriate one is being administered. They may do tests to see what is most effective. If you have had luck doing this, it is indeed just luck and would not be recommended by a knowledgeable vet.
Josephine isn´t here but I think she gave me permission to reproduce some of her advice if I needed to (did I remember right, Josephine? let me know if you want them removed). Anyway, these are some comments she has made on Cavies Galore about this and similar drugs (in the tetracycline family). I´ll highlight what is most useful to you:
ANTIBIOTIC TOXICITY (pg. 1381)
"Penicillins, clindamycin, lincomycin, streptomycin, tylosin, erythromycin, and cephalosporins kill the... normal intestinal flora...." Tetracycline is also listed as potentially toxic to guinea pigs (pg. 1385)
No, orthocycline is in the Tetracycline family, as far as I can figure. I´ve never actually heard of this particular name, but it really sounds like some of the OTC garbage sold. Pet stores generally attempt to treat with antibiotics in this family since they are inexpensive and readily available. I have heard of some breeders who do the same (such as mass antibiotic usage in the drinking water during times of URI breakouts).
Tetracyclines are listed as dangerous, but not outright toxic. Quite a few side effects and not as effective as the other cavy safe antibiotics. They can be toxic in certain conditions. Some people use them, but I tend to go with the safer antibiotics like enrofloxacin (Baytril) and trimethoprim sulfa (SMZ-TMP, Bactrim, etc). I´d rather not risk the life of an animal. I think if the choice were no antibiotics or Tetracyclines, the cavy would be better off without anything.
Panmycin is a brand name for Tetracycline HCL. It´s one antibiotic in the gray zone, thought to be toxic in some cases. It´s better than pencillin, amoxicillin, etc., but not much. I would have preferred the vet Rx Trimethoprim Sulfa (Bactrim), Baytril, or Doxycycline. Doxycycline is also a Tetracycline, but the only one in that family that seems to be recommended.
HM Cavy Rescue
I had a pig with an infection that when cultured was only sensitive to penicillin or Gentocin. We went with injections twice daily of Gentocin to try and bypass the gut as much as possible. It´s a high risk drug, but we had no choice.
Oh, how I hate to be reminded I am a mere mortal.
p.s. I tracked down the info I first pulled it from (with Kleenmama´s permission). I´m sure she meant doxycycline too. I´m surprised it took us this long to notice.
http://www.caviesgalore.com/forums/showthread.php?s=4f4b386b ... light=rodent
HM Cavy Rescue
- Little Jo Wheek
Dosing any drug in the drinking water is poor medicine, can be dangerous, and also can be ineffective. You never know exactly how much the animal is getting and sometimes it can cause the pig to drink less (causing more problems). Many drugs are rendered ineffective or change quickly when exposed to water, moisture, light, and air. Tetracyclines specifically make animals more sensitive to light (sunburning, etc.) and can cause bone density problems (brittle bones) in young animals, and/or yellowing of the teeth (affecting the dentin) in certain species. Dairy products, including yougurt, render tetracyclines ineffective, so any probiotics given should be non-dairy (not hard to find at a health food market or well-stocked supermarket).
I still caution anyone giving any tetracycline antibiotic derivative, but in some instances they can be warranted. Careful usage and monitoring should be applied to all such antibiotics. I do not believe that they should be a first choice in any animal.