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Pharmacy Spotlight: Vibramycin®

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Pharmacy Spotlight: Corticosteroids 
Pharmacy Spotlight: Enalapril 
Pharmacy Spotlight: Vetmedin® for Dogs 
Spotlight on Vibramycin

  • Medication type: Prescription-only antibiotic of the tetracycline class.
  • Active ingredient: Doxycycline
  • Dosage form: Oral suspension; generic form available in tablet or capsule.
  • Manufacturer: Pfizer
  • Generic Form: Doxycycline
  • Major use: Vibramycin® is prescribed by veterinarians as an extra-label drug (not officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but commonly used in animal medicine). It is mainly used to fight organisms not susceptible or sensitive to other antibiotics. Vibramycin® is often used for infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms that are not susceptible to common antibiotics. Can be used for bacterial infections such as wounds, urinary infections, and blood-borne infections. It is the antibiotic of choice for Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and anaplasmosis.
  • How it works: Vibramycin® inhibits protein synthesis in bacteria, rickettsia, and other susceptible organisms, killing them.


Dog's Name: Roscoe Breed: Female Mixed Breed Age: 11 years

Rottweiler His story: Roscoe was a big Rottweiler and one of the nicest dogs we had known. He was 11 and had no major problems since a knee injury when he was two. We fixed that and always looked forward to seeing him.

One morning, Roscoe's owner, Francesca, called and said the night before, he had been lying next to her on the couch, and one of his front paws was tucked under her leg. When she reached down to stroke his leg, she noticed that it felt different than normal. She got up and looked and realized that it was almost twice the size as normal. She put some ice on the swelling right away.

Outcome: We saw Roscoe the next day and the swelling had not gone down. In fact, it had gotten worse and had moved up to the "wrist" area of his leg. We x-rayed it right away. The x-rays showed nothing significant, so our next thought was Lyme Disease, which is carried by the deer tick. We have a lot of deer and, consequently, a lot of deer ticks up here in northern Wisconsin.

We did a simple blood test, which tests for antibodies to four diseases including: Heartworm, Lyme disease, and two other tick-borne diseases: Ehrlichiosis, caused by Ehrlichia canis, and Anaplasmosis, caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Roscoe tested positive for anaplasmosis.

Anaplasmosis is an emerging tick disease transmitted by the same tick that spreads Lyme disease. The symptoms of the two diseases are similar, as well as the treatment: An antibiotic called Vibramycin® (Doxycycline), given daily. Therefore, we sent Roscoe home with a prescription and asked Francesca to call us with questions and keep us updated on Roscoe's condition.

The Vibramycin® did its job and the swelling went down to normal within a week.

Roscoe lived to the ripe old age of 14 without any further complications from this disease.

For full details on this medication, download the free patient information sheet.

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