Some pets can be difficult and uncooperative for owners attempting to administer oral medications. On occasion, “difficult and uncooperative” is far too kind a description for the way some pets act when approached with oral medication, a problem especially prevalent with cats and small dogs. Owners of pets like this, when faced with the reality of having to administer oral antibiotics for a typical antibiotic course (10-14 days), often ask me, “isn’t there just s shot you can give instead?”
Up until just last week, my answer to this question has always been that I could indeed give an antibiotic injection, but after 24 hours it will wear off, and oral antibiotics will have to begin to be administered, lessening the total course by only one day. However, all that changed when I attended a seminar presented by Pfizer, a major animal health pharmaceutical company, introducing their one time injectable antibiotic, Convenia (generically called cefovecin).
Convenia is an antibiotic that persists in canine and feline tissues for 17 days or longer according to data obtained from its extensive veterinary use in Europe, enabling bacterial fighting activity for up to 17 days or longer from just one injection. This is beneficial for the owner because they do not have to preoccupy themselves with the administration of oral medication. For owners with pets that are challenging to medicate, Convenia is especially attractive.
For veterinarians, we love Convenia because it takes out of the equation the single most common reason why antimicrobial treatment fails: owner non-compliance. Owners frequently fail to administer antibiotics in a timely fashion due to scheduling conflict, or busy lifestyles leading to forgetfulness. On other occasions, seeing significant improvement in the early stages of treatment, they decide to stop treatment to save the rest of the antibiotics for another time they suspect an infection and want to try to save on a vet visit. In fact, statistically, only less than 25% of pet owners administer medications as directed and to completion, a fact that both astounds and alarms me.
These actions lead to not only a relapse of infection, but often infections that are new and improved, because they have developed antibiotic resistance. With Convenia, veterinarians eliminate owner compliance issues, placing treatment entirely in our hands.
Of course, no drug is perfect and comes with its own set of drawbacks, and Convenia is no exception. As a cephalosporin class antibiotic, it is only going to be effective against gram positive bacteria with limited gram negative action, making it appropriate for only certain types of infections. Right now, it is only labelled for use against skin infections (most of which tend to be streptococcus or staphylococcus species bacteria), although, I suspect that it will likely be a good choice for upper respiratory infections and first or second time urinary tract infections.
The other drawback is the price of treatment, with the average injection costing the pet owner around $2 per pound of body weight. While this may be quite affordable for owners of small to medium sized dogs or cats, the price of treatment can get very high for large or giant breeds.
Still, having been using the drug for a little over a week, I find my clinic already flying through its supplies of Convenia. When used at appropriate times, Convenia has proven itself an invaluable tool to ensure owner treatment compliance, as well as create convenience and ease of treatment for clients.
P.S.: I have no affiliation with, nor do I receive any incentives from, Pfizer, As such, my critique of Convenia 100% objective, written solely for my reader’s information, and not meant to be taken as an endorsement of any kind.