Ketoconazole is used to treat fungal infections and yeast infection of the skin and ears. These superficial infections can generally be treated successfully within a few weeks.
- The most common side effects are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Giving Ketoconazole with food may reduce these.
- At higher doses or in certain individuals, liver disease can result, but this should go away when the medication is discontinued. This is usually a problem for cats rather than dogs.
- When Ketoconazole use is long term, liver enzymes should be monitored.
- Some individuals show a lightening of the hair coat while taking Ketoconazole. This effect reverses when the medication is discontinued.
Interactions with Other Drugs
Ketoconazole is better absorbed when there is acid in the stomach, thus it is better not to give Ketoconazole while the pet is taking antacids.
Concerns and Cautions
- Ketoconazole is best not used in breeding male animals due to its feminization effect. It is also best avoided in patients with pre-existing liver disease or with decreased platelet (blood clotting cell) levels.
- When Ketoconazole therapy will continue for months at a time, many veterinarians will monitor liver enzymes with complete blood counts. This is not necessary when medication is used for only a few weeks.
- Ketoconazole is absorbed into the body best when it is given with food.
If you notice any vomiting, inappetence, lethargy, or nausea during Ketoconazole therapy, please discontinue the medication immediately and call your veterinarian to prevent the rare chance of liver problem.