Itraconazole for Dogs and Cats
General Drug Information and Indications
How to Give this Medication
Itraconazole is an antifungal drug that is used to treat systemic fungal infections in dogs and cats. These are very serious illnesses that require long-term drug treatment. Your veterinarian will probably recommend that itraconazole treatment be continued one to two months after all signs of the disease are gone. Even then, relapses can occur. Like many other drugs in veterinary medicine, this drug is not FDA approved for use in animals and is not available from a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer. If the human FDA drug is not the appropriate strength or dosage form, it may be compounded by a specialty pharmacy.
Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of itraconazole, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose in order to catch up.
Itraconazole should be given with food. Your veterinarian may recommend giving itraconazole with high fat foods such as butter, cheese, or liverwurst in order to improve drug absorption.
Do not stop this medication until advised by your veterinarian. Stopping the medication too soon greatly increases the chance that the infection will come back.
Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.
Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately. Although itraconazole has fewer side effects than any other drug of this type, adverse reactions may cause your veterinarian to reduce the dose, increase the interval between doses, or even discontinue treatment.
The most common side effect in dogs is loss of appetite. Liver toxicity is a rare (less than 10%) but more serious side effect. If signs of liver toxicity occur, they will usually begin by the second month of treatment. Loss of appetite could indicate the more serious liver toxicity, so always report all side effects to your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian may do blood work to monitor liver function. Many dogs will show a mild elevation in liver enzymes. This does not generally require change in treatment unless other signs such as loss of appetite, vomiting, and depression occur.
Some dogs may develop ulcers on their skin when given itraconazole at the higher dosage.
In cats, the most common side effects appear to be dose related and are generally related to digestive problems including loss of appetite, weight loss and vomiting.
Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. Itraconazole is a prescription drug and should be given according to your veterinarian’s directions. It should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person.
Itraconazole is usually not used in animals with liver disease or decreased gastric acid production.
Itraconazole is generally not used in pregnant animals unless it is necessary to save the mother’s life. It is found in breast milk of animals receiving the drug.
Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving.
Antacids or drugs that decrease stomach acid, such as omeprazole, ranitidine or cimetidine will decrease the amount of Itraconazole that is absorbed. Always give itraconazole and these medication two hours apart.
There are a number of drugs that may interact with itraconazole. They include: didanosine, warfarin or other coumarin anticoagulants; rifampin, phenytoin, cyclosporine, digoxin, chlorpropamide, glipizide, and cisapride.
if you suspect your pet or another animal was accidentally overdosed or has eaten this medication by accident, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.’s Animal Poison Control Center
at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.
If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center
Different strengths or dosage forms of itraconazole may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.
Itraconazole is the initial drug of choice for systemic fungal infections due to aspergillosis, blastomycosis, coccidiomycosis, cryptoccocosis, histoplasmosis, pythiosis, and sporotrichosis. In more severe or life threatening fungal infections, itraconazole may be combined with an injectable antibiotic for the first 2 to 4 weeks of therapy. In some cases, your veterinarian may start with higher dose of itraconazole at the beginning of treatment.
About the Author
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
You can purchase books by Dr. Forney at www.exclusivelyequine.com
The information contained on this site is general in nature and is intended for use as an informational aid. It does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the products shown, nor is the information intended as medical advice or diagnosis for individual health problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of using a particular product. You should consult your doctor about diagnosis and treatment of any health problems. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), nor has the FDA approved the products to diagnose, cure or prevent disease.
Wedgewood Pharmacy's compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals.