neosporin on cats

Neosporin On Cats: Is It Safe?

Reviewed by Leslie Jones, DVM

Is Neosporin on cats considered safe?

Many of us have a tube of Neosporin in our home first aid kit, which is an antibiotic ointment, used for small cuts and scrapes.

However, can you use Neosporin on your cat? It’s actually better to avoid using Neosporin on your cat, because some cats may have an allergic reaction, and may cause mild skin irritation.

Read more to know when you can use Neosporin on your cat, side effects, and the available alternatives.

What Is Neosporin?

neosporin on cats

Neosporin is the brand name for a triple antibiotic ointment .It is composed of three antibiotics: neomycin, polymixin B, and bacitracin.

Neosporin that is labeled as “pain relief” contains a fourth ingredient, which is a pain reliever called Pramoxine Hydrogen Chloride.

Neosporin’s three topical antibiotics are efficient in stopping bacteria from growing in minor wounds and scrapes.

They are quite safe for topical use in humans. However, it’s not that safe for cats. if the cat is allergic to one or more of the components, topical treatment may produce minor skin irritation or an allergic response.

While it may be harmless for cats if applied topically, if eaten, it can cause more major problems in cats. As a result, veterinarians rarely suggest it for use with cats.

Can you Use Neosporin on Cats?

neosporin on cats

If your veterinarian has given you permission to apply the Neosporin on your cat, carefully follow their directions for dose and application.

Neosporin is primarily used to heal minor wounds and scratches on a cat’s body. While the wound heals, the medicine will help keep bacteria out.

It can also help to prevent further infections, as well as speed up the healing process of the wound.

However, Neosporin should not be used if the cat already has an infected skin disease, such as an abscess or feline acne.

When applying Neosporin to a cat’s skin, the normal dosage recommendation is to use a small amount, because cats are diligent about grooming themselves, and may unintentionally ingest part of the medication during their cleaning procedure, which can have serious implications.

If your veterinarian does approve using it on your cat, always follow the dose and application instructions exactly.

After applying Neosporin to the affected area, it may be advisable to cover the area with a bandage. Replace the bandage after each reapplication.

What are the Effects Of Neosporin On Cats

neosporin on cats

The main negative effect of Neosporin happens when the cat licks and consumes part of the medication.

This is due to the presence of polymyxin b in the medication, a chemical that may cause anaphylactic shock in a feline if they have a severe allergic response to it.

In addition, Polymyxin b can be life threatening, if ingested. In fact, the Animal Poison Control Center lists Neosporin as a toxic medication to pets.

Some cats may also have a topical allergic skin reaction. Contact your veterinarian immediately, if you see signs of allergic reaction such as redness, itching, irritation, or signs of pain.

In the case of a superficial wound, you can clean the wound on your cat with an antiseptic solution such as povidone iodine. However, in the case of deep or puncture wounds, you should take your cat to the vet immediately.

Are There Alternatives to Neosporin?

neosporin on cats

There is no over the counter substitute for Neosporin. However, veterinary-specific ointments might be prescribed in substitution of Neosporin.

If your cat has a small cut or scrape, make an appointment for your cat to be seen by your veterinarian. They will be able to prescribe the appropriate antibiotic ointment for your cat’s scrape.

When to See a Veterinarian

neosporin on cats

If you suspect your cat has ingested Neosporin, or is showing signs of allergic reaction like redness or itching, it’s better to call your veterinarian.

Your cat’s first aid kit should have the phone numbers of your veterinarian and nearest emergency vet clinics or hospitals.

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