Convenia’s Many Uses

As the use of Convenia long-acting antibiotic injection widens many readers are writing in with questions about it.

“Can it be used for upper respiratory infections?”

“Can it be used for urinary tract infections?”

“Can it be used for skin infections?”

The answer to all of these questions is “yes”. In fact, your pet’s doctor is licensed to use any medication approved for use in the United States by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, he may use unapproved medications under strict supervision and with permission if he is part of a valid research program.

In general, antibiotics are indicated for the removal of bacterial infections from the body. Some antibiotics, by their chemical and physical characteristics, penetrate certain organs or parts of the body better than others. These qualities in antibiotics are often a major factor in our choice of medication from the thousands of antibiotics available.

Convenia, from Pfizer Animal Health,  is approved for use in skin infections. The cephalosporin class of antibiotics has long been used for dermatologic purposes because it has a broad spectrum of effectiveness on a wide variety of bacteria and a strong ability to accumulate in the skin, where skin infections abide.

Cephalosporins, however, also have great usefulness in other organ systems and Convenia has proven itself in widespread use.

As its name implies, Convenia is very convenient because of its ability to take the place of twice-daily and thrice-daily oral antibiotics. Sometimes that characteristic is lifesaving, such as the cat who can’t be pilled or the dog whose gastrointestinal (GI) tract doesn’t tolerate oral antibiotics.

I had just such a case as the latter example this week. Benji is a little mixed-breed dog with severely infected lick granulomas on both rear legs. Benji also has terrible dental disease and a very sore mouth to go with it. He’s also a little too smart for his own good.

We had dispensed an oral antibiotic for his skin and on the first day he took it in a treat. On day two he refused the treat, but took it in a piece of bread. On day three he refused the treat and the bread, but took the medicine in a small piece of bologna. On day four…OK, you’re already ahead of me. Before a week was out Benji was refusing all forms of disguise for the oral medication.

Furthermore, Benji was vomiting shortly after each dose and his stool was a little loose. These are not uncommon problems with oral forms of cephalosporins. Adding yogurt to his diet helped, and his owner was even able to disguise the medication in the yogurt.

For one day.

When it came down to a no-treats-are-working situation it was time to give a pill conventionally. Open the mouth and push it behind the tongue. Because of Benji’s sore mouth, though, that wasn’t working, either.

We knew we were on the right track with the cephalosporin because both lick granuloma lesions were looking better.

Enter Convenia.

Because it was not oral, the GI tract problems should disappear.

Because it is in the cephalosporin family it should give us ongoing improvement in the skin lesions.

And, it did. Benji is now feeling much better and his legs are looking great.

We have performed preanesthesia laboratory testing and all results are good. Benji is fifteen years of age and will be very healthy after we take care of his oral problems.

Benji is scheduled for that procedure in August and we expect to have him around for another five years of happy companionship.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.


  1. Don says:

    I have an 11 year old Persian that appears to be on a cycle of URI every few months. This didn’t manifest until he was around 8 yo. It typically started every winter / spring then progressed to late spring and now every few months. I’ve tried lysine and initially it seemed to help. Now I give him about 1000mg daily and don’t see any results. In the past I treated him with Orbax and it seemed to do the trick. Last time it didn’t touch it and ended up with doxy. That seemed to do it. As like before, the next time doxy didn’t help. This last time ( about 4months ago) we tried Covenia. Within 4 hours his sneezing and snot rockets had subsided and he made a complete recovery. That was an amazing recovery to the point that I didn’t believe an antibiotic would work that quickly. My normal vet was able to squeeze him in a couple of days later and told me the same that it isn’t typical to see results that rapidly.
    Bottom line Covenia knocked it out within hours. I have to take him in again tomorrow for another apparent URI. I typically let it progress for a few weeks to see if he can beat it himself. To date he hasn’t been able to.
    The reason for my message is, he didn’t have a negative reaction to the Covenia. Can the side effects appear with subsequent treatments?

    Thank you.

    • As I’ve said above, I see virtually NO side effects with Convenia use. We’ve administered untold numbers of injections and a single allergic reaction is the only problem we’ve encountered, and that was easily treated. Because your kitty’s upper respiratory signs are probably primarily viral, don’t be surprised if antibiotics don’t always resolve the signs, because the antibiotic is treating only the secondary bacteria. Continue your lysine preventive, and be sure you’re using a reliable brand, such as Enisyl. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  2. Cheryl E. Shaw says:

    Hi Dr. Randolph,

    I found your website and have been reading it with great interest. I have a 5 year old feral, Rosie. I took her to the vet today, and she has some gingivitis. Because she is feral, and difficult to pill, the vet opted to start with an injection of Covenia, to see if it helps. She will also need a dental cleaning and possibly another line of treatment down the road. However, he did say that on occasion the inflammation clears up with the use of Covenia.

    Are there any other resources you would recommend that I could read up on, in terms of how to best treat this? For instance, I have also read that treating cats that test positively for Bartonella often has an impact on gingivitis in cats. (I know that they are working on a stem cell treatment for this, although it is probably light years away.)

    I would like as much information as possible so that I can be as informed as possible, pending her next appointment.
    Any suggestions most welcome.

    Thank you!

  3. Sandi says:

    My foster kittenbis 6 weeks old and is congested. He is 15 ounces. Is it safecto give him a convenia shot?

  4. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for the quick response – I truly appreciate it.

  5. Carolyn says:

    My 10 yr old male cat started getting recurring sinus infections about 6 months ago. The vet’s office started him on powdered Lysine but that really didn’t seem to help. He received a Convenia shot and his thick snot cleared up in a matter of days. However, the sneezing and mucus came back 2 months later. We took him in for another shot of Convenia and again, his infection cleared up. 2 months later the symptoms returned – knowing that Convenia helped him, I called the vets office for his “bi-monthly” shot of Convenia b/c it seems to be the only thing that has helped. However, they said that they didn’t want to keep injecting him with this drug and that I should use the Lysine and steam him to try and get the infection to clear up. My question is: Is there a problem with injecting my cat with Convenia on a regular basis since it seems to help? Or am I just putting a “band-aid” on the real problem?

    • “Or am I just putting a “Band-Aid” on the real problem?” Probably. Most of these kitties have an underlying problem such as Rhinotracheitis (which you’re not going to fix because it’s a Herpesvirus), foreign body or cancer, with the vast majority being Rhinotracheitis. Ultimately, it’s up to your attending veterinarian to decide what medication to give on what schedule. Thanks for reading!

    • Anne says:

      My 11 yo cat was treated for upper respiratory & cough with Convenia. She became completely off form altogether & 2- 3 days after treatment turned completely against her food. Is now nearly 2 weeks since she ate a finger tip size piece of Tuna. For last 2 days she has taken very little water only a few laps & so weak she lies down just staring at water dish. Is totally confused lethargic & sleeping all the time. Now of course no bowel movement as she hasn’t eaten. Her nose is oozing green mucous all the time. I have tried steam via diffuser over last few days but looks like she is on the way out. She was fine active eating normally before this infection. I feel Convenia has done her more harm than good. I don’t think she’ll pull out of this due ti her weak condition. It is 14 days today since the Convenia injection was administered to her. It would appear to me that she was allergic to Convenia. If penicillin isn’t suitable for many humans then how can a vet go ahead & take a chance that a cat will be ok with Convenia??? I am distraught at her sickly condition. Any views on this?

  6. Lisa says:

    Four days ago (Fri.) my 7-year-old, 13-lb kitty was diagnosed with a UTI during pre-anesthesia bloodwork for a dental cleaning. I was sent home with pain meds and Clavamox to begin that evening. She was eating fine that first night until she vomited right before bed and then refused food all weekend (except for showing some interest in the occasional treat after the pain meds were discontinued). She returned to vet this morning (Mon.) and received a shot to settle her stomach, a B vitamin to stimulate appetite, and a Convenia shot since the Clavamox was deemed unsuitable for her (due to causing vomiting). I’ve just discovered all the scare stories about Convenia online and I’m terrified. She’s shown no improvement yet (but no worsening either). It’s been 4 hours and they told me the meds should take effect in an hour. The vet did not mention decreased appetite/lethargy when I asked about possible side effects. Are those really so rare that it’s perfectly safe to give to a kitty who already isn’t eating? What kinds of symptoms would indicate a possible life-threatening reaction? For example, she feels feverish to me, but that’s probably just my worries spiraling out of control.

    • I like the part about “probably just my worries spiraling out of control.” I know there is a ton of stories on the internet about Convenia causing problems, I just haven’t seen it. I have seen Clavamox cause loss of appetite, vomiting and lethargy, and it can take a couple of days for those side effects to dissipate. That doesn’t happen very often, but it’s disturbing when it does. I sometimes use a probiotic (I like Proviable, but use the one your veterinarian recommends) in cases like hers to get the good bacteria going again in the intestinal tract during and after antibiotic administration. Write back and tell us how she is. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

      • Lisa says:

        Thank you so much for your quick reply and for helping ease my fears. The vet has promised a call back later in the day to check up on her, so I will ask about the probiotic. Hoping I can return to update you with good news before long!

      • Lisa says:

        My kitty is now all better and seems to have suffered no ill effects from the Convenia injection! To other pet owners: don’t let all the horror stories about Convenia get you worked into a frenzy; my kitty tolerated it well and she typically has a pretty sensitive system.

  7. Susan says:

    Convenia has helped my 14 yr old cat with his breathing problems. One shot lasts between 5-6 months before symptoms return. No side effects to date..

    • Ina Griffie says:

      Susan, what kind of breathing issues does your cat have? My baby suffers from breathing problems due to his upper respiratory infection caused by Herpes Virus. They think it is all viral, and therefore antibiotics won’t help. I am at the point I have to try something. He has no quality of life. I am unable to pill him due to his breathing difficulties. Please share anything you can with me.

  8. Dorrie Sigler says:

    Can Convenia be used to treat kennel cough in cats?

  9. Jerry says:

    My 18 yr old cat was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. And I’m fearing it might turn into pneumonia. The vet recommended the Convenia antibiotic. After doing some research on line, I am even more confused. Is this shot just for skin and organ treatment? Do you have any input on whether the Convenia shot was the right way to go or should I have gone with my gut and requested the Clavamox that I usually get for this situation?

    • We use Convenia and many other drugs extra-label every day. I’ve used Convenia in untold numbers of kittens and adult cats, with excellent results. While your kitty may or may not respond to treatment, you can feel very comfortable with your decision to accept the use of Convenia.

  10. Julianne Madary says:

    I recently took in a stray shihtzu with a horrible mouth infection. Can a convenia injection help clear up that type of infection?

    • I have found that Convenia does an excellent job on oral infections. However, a basic principle of infection control is removing complicating factors, and thorough dental prophylaxis is foundational to long-term success. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  11. Bonnie O'Neil says:

    My 11 year old diabetic cat has FUO for over a month. He’s had a couple of injections of Convenia. He also has had several injections of Carprofen, which takes away his fever & makes him normal for a few days. When it wears off, the fever comes back. Blood panel plus Xrays are all normal. Any suggestions?

    • 1. Has the urine been cultured? Convenia is broad spectrum, but, if any one antibiotic killed all bacteria there wouldn’t be 500 on the market. 2. Has he been radiographed for stones? 3. Is he on a special food for stress, such as Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Stress? 4. Special contrast X-rays might be required to determine whether he has a mass in his bladder. 4. Has he had blood cultures? Your veterinarian may have already thought of these things. Please write back and let us know how he’s doing.

  12. Jo Ann Welch says:

    My 10 year old cat Marti has asthma and is on Flovent twice a day along with Tranilast twice a day and Montelukast once a day. Even with this she has times when I cannot get her asthma under control and she has to get either Depo Medrol or Dex injections. She has always had issues with diarrhea – Prednisolone plus any of the above mentioned injections make her diarrhea worse. About 4 months ago she had an injection (Dextramethazone) because she was having frequent asthma attacks. After the injection I could not get her diarrhea under control, she developed terrible flaking skin and her hair was coming out in clumps. My DMV gave her a Covenia injection 4 days ago (for her skin) and her diarrhea immediately stopped, her skin cleared up and her respiration has improved immensely. Waiting on her bloodwork to come back. She has always been a difficult case and when I put her on Flovent followed by her oral meds it at least cut down on how often she was getting steroid shots. I am hoping the Covenia will give her some long term relief I was not expecting the immediate positive outcome from it nor does my vet understand how the injection was able to improve all of her existing symptoms. I would love to get some insight from you.

    Thank you,

    Jo and Marti

  13. Kathy says:

    Does convenia help with stomach infections?

    • Kathy, it depends totally on the kind of infection. I have used Convenia in two patients with diarrhea, where the owners were completely unable to administer oral medications. It helped both of them. Is that what you had in mind?

  14. Jean M. Hogge says:

    Dr. Randolph,
    You have lovely down to earth answers and advice, thank you.

  15. Diane Lockhart says:

    my 4 yr old male cat has had chronic nasal congestion, sneezing bloody greenish mucous since he was tiny, has been treated numerous times with various antibiotics , antivirals etc. do you have any suggestions for treatment , he has trouble breathing through his nose , seems well in every other way, eats and is playful , enjoys exploring outdoors etc.

  16. Ellen says:

    I rescued a cat. He has red gums even has an eye infection because of an infected tooth. The tooth was extracted, he was given a convenia injection, and his eye was flushed, and antibiotic eye ointment. I found putting the eye ointment on him makes him want to itch his eye like crazy. My question is will the injection help with infection in the eye and gums.

  17. rosey55 says:

    mydog 9mnths, was off his food and water, on a sunday. we were worried so rang the vets. he has a habit of eating stones. it cost us £76 before any treatment. we were then charged £54.55p for one anti sickness injection of convenia.?.this seems an awful lot of money for one injection and pup was fine next day.

    • Rosey, did you consider that he was better the next day because of the Convenia injection? I frequently hear from pet owners who are happy about Convenia’s results but unhappy about the cost. I strongly feel that clients should be offered an estimate of cost of services in every case.

  18. Ann says:

    4 yr old cat has respiratory virus. Would this help with her frequent colds?

  19. P. McV says:

    My cat, Scooter is suffering from an urinary tract infection. Two days ago he was given an injection of Convenia. As yet, I have not seen an improvement in his condition. My question – when should his infection begin to subside?

  20. Ann Crowe says:

    I would like to know if young cats have the same kind of teething problems as young dogs do in chewing, biting, etc. on whatever they can find in the house?

  21. Michele Turns says:

    How much does a dose of Convenia cost?

    • Michelle, the cost of Convenia is proportional to the body weight of the patient. Individual veterinarians are free to charge what they wish, there is no set cost, therefore it can vary from one practice to another and according to the size of the pet.


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