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Convenia for Cats: Our Vet Explains Uses, Doses, & Side Effects

Written by: Dr. Joanna Woodnutt BVM BVS (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Veterinarian at vet clinic giving injection to cat

Convenia for Cats: Our Vet Explains Uses, Doses, & Side Effects


Dr. Joanna Woodnutt Photo


Dr. Joanna Woodnutt

MRCVS, Veterinarian

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If your feline friend is unwell and has an infection, your veterinarian may give them an injection of Convenia alongside other treatment. So, what is Convenia? When is it used? And what side effects should you watch out for? This article can shed some light on these questions and more.

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Key Points

  • Convenia is the brand name of a medication for cats and dogs called Cefovecin.
  • Cefovecin is a long-acting antibiotic that can be used for certain infections.
  • Convenia is made by the pharmaceutical company Zoetis.
  • Convenia is a prescription-only injectable medication, so it needs to be prescribed and administered by your veterinarian.
  • Convenia is stored as a separate powder and liquid, which are combined before use.
  • Convenia contains 80 mg/ml of Cefovecin when it is prepared.
  • Convenia is licensed for use in cats and dogs over 8 weeks of age.

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Uses of Convenia in Cats

Convenia is a long-acting antibiotic that lasts for 14 days from the day of injection. This makes it a valuable option for pet parents who struggle to give their cat tablets or liquid medication consistently. However, despite being convenient and easy to use, it should only be used in certain situations.

Convenia is licensed to treat infections caused by particular bacteria. Therefore, it can be used to treat infected wounds and abscesses caused by Pasteurella, Fusobacterium, Bacteroides, Prevotella, Beta hemolytic Streptococci, or Staphylococcus. In addition, it is licensed for the treatment of urinary tract infections caused by E. coli.

Although Convenia is only licensed to treat infections caused by the above bacteria, its use can sometimes be justified for other types of infection. For instance, cats who are feral, aggressive, or intolerant of tableting, or cats who have bad teeth, inflamed gums, or mouth tumors, for whom tableting would cause unnecessary pain.

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Image Credit: Elpisterra, Shutterstock

How Is Convenia Given to Cats?

Before the first use, Convenia needs to be reconstituted. The package contains a vial of powder and a vial of liquid. The entire vial of liquid should be added to the vial containing the powder to prepare the solution. Once added, the vial should be gently shaken to dissolve the powder thoroughly. Before and after reconstitution, Convenia must be stored in a refrigerator. Once the Convenia solution has been prepared, it must be discarded after 28 days.

Convenia is given to cats via an injection under the skin. This is generally given in the scruff of the neck but can be given wherever there is loose skin. It is given at a dose of 8 mg of Cefovecin per kg of body weight, which works out as 1ml per 10 kg. This dose is also the same for dogs.

For most infections, a single dose of Convenia, lasting 2 weeks, is sufficient. However, it is licensed to be repeated after 14 days if needed.

How Does Convenia Work?

Convenia is Cefovecin, which belongs to a group of antibiotics called cephalosporins. Cephalosporins are divided into different generations. This reflects how much their structure has been altered compared to their original form, which was derived from mold. First-generation cephalosporins are the original structure, whereas subsequent generations have been modified. These modifications can make them more effective or help them work against a larger spectrum of bacteria.

Cefovecin is a third-generation cephalosporin, which is effective against a large range of bacteria. However, because of the risk of antibiotic resistance, it should only be used in appropriate circumstances. Appropriate use would include when first-line antibiotics have failed or when a swab of the infection shows that it is needed.

Cefovecin prevents bacterial growth by stopping cell wall formation. The reason why it is so long-acting is that it binds to proteins, allowing it to remain in your cat’s system rather than being broken down.

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Image Credit: eremeevdv, Shutterstock

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What Are the Side Effects of Convenia?

One concern regarding penicillin or cephalosporin-based medications is the risk of allergy in either the patient or anyone handling the drug. Thankfully, because Convenia is injectable, it is not a risk to the pet parent, whereas tablets could be. As with any medication, there is a risk of an allergic or anaphylactic reaction, but this risk is very minimal.

Slightly more common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, or reduced appetite, but these are still relatively rare. There are also occasional reports of neurological signs like seizures or incoordination; however, these are very rare. There have been instances where Convenia has been reported to interfere with the bone marrow and its production of red and white blood cells, but again this is a very rare side effect.

Because Convenia is stored in the refrigerator, some cats react to the cool sensation when the injection is given. Otherwise, the injection is not expected to be painful, but there are occasional reports of inflammation of the area where the injection has been given.

Does Convenia React With Other Medications?

Because Convenia binds to proteins, which allows it to remain in the body for longer, it can sometimes interfere with other medications that similarly bind to proteins. Drugs, including some anti-inflammatories and diuretics, can also rely on protein binding. Therefore, competition with other medicines to bind with proteins could cause either medication to be less effective.

When Shouldn’t Convenia Be Given?

Convenia isn’t licensed to be given to kittens under 8 weeks of age, and studies haven’t yet been performed to prove it is safe for pregnant or lactating cats. Similarly, it should be avoided, where possible, in cats with severe kidney failure because its safety has not been established.

Cefovecin is not a first-line antibiotic, so its use should be reserved for cases where first-line antibiotics have failed. Ideally, the use of Cefovecin should be justified by bacterial culture testing to minimize the risk of antibiotic resistance.

cat scratching head
Image Credit: lothofoxburr, Pixabay

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Frequent Asked Questions

What is Convenia used for?

Convenia is used to treat skin, soft tissue, and urinary tract infections caused by certain bacteria. These include Pasteurella, Bacteroides, Fusobacterium, Prevotella, E. coli, Beta hemolytic Streptococci, and certain Staphylococci.

How long does Convenia take to work with cats?

Although the concentration of Convenia in the bloodstream reaches the therapeutic level 2 hours after injection, it can take 12 to 48 hours for signs to begin to improve.

How long does Convenia last in cats?

Convenia lasts for 14 days, which is sufficient time to resolve most infections. However, the dose can safely be repeated on day 14 if further treatment is required.

Is Convenia safe for cats long-term?

Convenia is licensed as a single injection, which can be repeated after 2 weeks if needed. In rare situations where antibiotic treatment is required for longer than 4 weeks, your veterinarian may decide to repeat the injection. However, Convenia should only be used as a continuous course and shouldn’t be used long-term due to the risk of antibiotic resistance.

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Convenia is made by the pharmaceutical company Zoetis and is the brand name of an injectable antibiotic called Cefovecin. Cefovecin is a third-generation Cephalosporin antibiotic, reserved for use where other first-line antibiotics haven’t worked. A single injection of Convenia lasts for 14 days, at which point it can be repeated if needed.

Convenia is licensed to treat skin, soft tissue, and urinary tract infections caused by certain bacteria. It can also be helpful when treating cats who won’t take oral medication. However, the ongoing threat from antibiotic resistance in human and veterinary medicine means that Convenia should always be used responsibly, with appropriate justification from your veterinarian.

Our vet discusses these other pet medications:

Featured Image Credit: Tom Wang, Shutterstock

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