Friday, August 28, 2009

Antibiotics Past the Expiration: Proving the Rule

A good comment came in to my original reply to Scotte Weese at the "Worms and Germs" blog who, without doing any research at all, and without contacting me, decided to blast this web site and blog for explaining how to get good antibiotics, without prescription, to treat dogs with small cuts and lacerations.

For those left scratching their heads:

So what was the good comment from a reader? It came from Mary who wrote to note:

While I agree with your post, I just wanted to mention that one of the drugs you name, Doxycycline, is one of the few that should not be used after its expiration date. Drugs in the tetracycline family can cause kidney damage when used after they expire.

Full credit to Mary who reads on her own. As I note in my reply to her:

"Tetracycline drugs are not drugs I normally use on my dogs (see original post ) and YES tetractycline and doxycycline are not drugs that can be kept for a decade past expiration, as most other antibiotics can, BUT it appears they too are good for quite a bit longer than their expiration dates.

As I noted in my reply, doxycycline is bought in very large amounts by the U.S. Government, and if it is kept at regular room temperature in a sealed container (as all antibiotics in your home are, I trust) it too is good for more than a year past its expiration date.

But don't take my word for it. Since so few people read anymore, I have pictures.

The following photos are lifted from a PowerPoint Presentation (PDF version) created by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This is the kind of warehouse where Strategic National Supply antibiotics and medical materials are stored.

These are a couple of doxycycline containers from the Strategic National Supply of antibiotics.

This is an original doxycycline label from the Strategic National Supply of antibiotics. Note that the drugs are to be stored at room temperature: 68-77 degrees.

This is an extended expiration date doxycycline label from the Strategic National Supply of antibiotics. Expiration dates on antibiotics are routinely extended for several years as part of the Shelf Life Extention Program (SLEP) as previously noted on this blog.

As I have noted on this blog in the past, doxycycline is a very useful drug to have in your home veterinary kit for two non-wound issues: Lyme disease treatment, and as an adjunct to effective and low-cost heartworm treatment.

Doxycycline, labeled for birds, can be bought from any veterinary supply place that caters to dogs, such as Doctors Foster and Smith, Revival Animal Health, Lambert Vet Supply or even

This is the same medicine, made in the same factories, and at the same dosage, as antbiotics sold by your veterinarian or local pharmacy.

As always, follow directions and dose the right drug for the proper problem at the right amounts and for the required amount of time. Read the instructions and follow them!

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