Educational Articles

Small Mammals + Medications

  • Clarithromycin is given by mouth and is used off label to treat certain bacterial infections in several animal species. Side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, appetite changes, stomach pain/cramps, or skin redness in cats. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or other macrolide antibiotics, in rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, or horses greater than 4 months old. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Deslorelin is injected under the skin or into the muscle and is used on and off-label in horses, ferrets, and dogs to treat reproductive and adrenal conditions (off-label use in the U.S. is prohibited). Give as directed. Common side effects include swelling, sensitivity, redness, and warmth at the injection site. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it. If a negative reaction occurs, please call the veterinary office.  

  • Diazoxide is given by mouth and is used off label to treat low blood sugar associated with insulin-producing tumors of the pancreas. Give as directed by your veterinarian. Common side effects include drooling, lack of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or thiazide diuretics, or in pets with low blood sugar due to anything other than a tumor. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Leuprolide is given by injection and is used off label in ferrets and birds to treat reproductive and adrenal problems. Give as directed. Side effects in ferrets may include pain at the injection site, breathing difficulties, and sleepiness. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or other gonadotropin-releasing hormones, and do not use in pregnant or nursing pets. If a negative reaction occurs, please call the veterinary office.

  • Meclizine is used off label and given by mouth in the form of a tablet to treat and prevent motion sickness and vomiting in dogs, cats, and small mammals. The most common side effect is sedation and sleepiness. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it. It should be used with caution in pets with concurrent prostate enlargement, bladder obstruction, heart failure, certain types glaucoma, or certain gastrointestinal obstructions. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Melatonin is given by mouth or as an implant under the skin and is used to treat sleep and behavior disorders, adrenal disease, and non-allergic hair loss, to suppress the heat cycle, and to improve breeding rates. Give as directed. Side effects are not common but may include sleepiness. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Sulfadiazine/trimethoprim is given by mouth in the form of a liquid suspension or is given by injection in the hospital, and it is commonly used to treat bacterial and parasitic infections, sometimes off label, in dogs, cats, small mammals and other exotics. Common side effects include a decreased appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea, although more serious side effects are possible such as dry eye, or liver, blood, or urinary problems. Do not use in pets that have severe liver damage, blood cell problems, dehydration, or sulfa allergies. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Sulfadimethoxine is an antimicrobial given by mouth in the form of a tablet or liquid suspension, used primarily to treat coccidiosis. Its use for treating small mammals and reptiles is off label. Common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. This medication should not be used in pets that are allergic to it, pregnant, lactating, or have severe liver or kidney dysfunction. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.