Veterinary Blog

Polysporin Alert: It Can Be Deadly in Cats!

By Dr. Leslie Ross D.V.M. B.Sc.

The product lineup for polysporin (bacitracin/polymyxin) includes a wide assortment of creams, ointments, washes, eye, and ear drops and sprays. These products are very affordable and are found commonly in a large variety of retail outlets and pharmacies, marketed as over-the-counter products. Polysporin products can be effective when used to treat a variety of mild skin and ear and eye infections. Although most of these products can be used safely for a limited period of time on dogs there are restrictions including avoiding its use in dogs having chronic or deep infections.

Used on cats, on the other hand, it can be deadly! Numerous kinds of polysporin and similar triple antibiotic ointments can cause anaphylactic reactions that can be fatal. There are numerous documented cases of these reactions leading to kidney failure and heart damage in cats. To be safe, it is best to avoid using any polysporin or related ointments, drops or sprays in cats.

Similarly, avoid polysporin use in rabbits and ferrets because they can develop serious body organ disturbances if the product is licked off their fur and ingested.

It is always safest to consult with your veterinarian before pursuing with any home treatments that you may be considering to use on your pet. What is safe and effective for human use is not necessarily as safe for use on pets.

Always remember, cats are not small dogs and dogs are not small people!

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