Treating Kennel Cough in Cats with Tribrissen

Tribessen is one of several brand names for the antibiotic Trimethoprim/Sulfa, which is used to treat kennel cough in cats. Other names for Trimethoprim/Sulfa are Bactrim, Septra, Sulfatrim and Cotrim.

Characteristics of Feline Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, or infectious tracheobronchitis, is a group of diseases caused by various respiratory tract viruses and the Bordatella bronchiseptica bacteria, often working in concert. Kennel cough is highly contagious, transmitted through the air when infected cats cough and sneeze. It usually spreads where there are a number of cats occupying confined areas, including kennels, shelters and grooming facilities. Kennel cough is rarely a serious threat to your cat's well-being, as long as other serious health conditions or complications are not present.

Symptoms of Feline Kennel Cough

Cats with kennel cough exhibit two primary symptoms-frequent fits of a dry, hacking cough and sneezing. However, other symptoms, like fever, fatigue and appetite loss, may arise, indicating a possibly worsening infection. Here are some steps your vet may recommend in treating feline kennel cough:

  • Administering cough suppressants
  • Using a humidifier to loosen mucous in the throat
  • Supplementing your cat's diet with multi-vitamins
  • Administering Trimethoprim/Sulfa drugs, like Tribessen

How Trimethoprim/Sulfa Drugs Are Administered to Your Cat

Trimethoprim/Sulfa drugs may be given orally, injected into the muscle or dispensed intravenously. Always follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully and exactly in administering medications for kennel cough, making sure your cat completes the entire prescription to prevent relapse. Also, make sure you cat has plenty of water to drink while taking such medications.

How Trimethoprim/Sulfa Drugs Treat Kennel Cough

Trimethoprim/Sulfa drugs like Tribessen are a combination of two antibiotics that kills bacteria in two phases-by depriving them of nucleic acids and proteins necessary for replication. Either drug given by itself may only inhibit the growth of bacteria causing kennel cough temporarily. Another advantage of Trimethoprim/Sulfa drugs is that they are "broad-spectrum antibiotics," which are effective even if the identity of the pathogen causing an infection is unknown. Finally, such medications cost less than other antibiotics.

Side Effects of Trimehtoprim/Sulfa Drug

Here are reported side effects of Trimethoprim Sulfa drugs:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Allergic inflammation caused
  • Hives
  • Dry eyes
  • Seizures

Here are rare syndromes associated with Trimethoprim Sulfa drugs:

  • Joint inflammation
  • Skin rashes
  • Blood irregularities
  • Hepatitis
  • Bladder stones

When Trimethoprim Sulfa Drugs Are Not Suitable for Your Cat

Your vet will most likely not prescribe Trimethoprim Sulfa drugs to your cat if any of the following conditions are present:

  • Allergy to sulfonamides
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation after delivery

You should also make sure your vet knows your cat's complete medication history in advance of administering Trimethoprim/Sulfa drugs for kennel cough. Methotrexate, phenylbutazone, salicylates, anticoagulants and other medications given in combination with Trimethoprim/Sulfa drugs may cause adverse reactions in your cat.