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Medication details

  • Medication type: Antibiotic, Antiparasitic, Steroid, Antifungal
  • Form: Topical solution
  • Prescription required? Yes
  • FDA approved? Yes
  • Life stage: All
  • Brand names: Tresaderm
  • Common names: Thiabendazole, dexamethasone, neomycin sulfate solution
  • Available dosages: 7.5 mL and 15 mL bottle sizes (each containing 1 mg/mL dexamethasone in combination with 40 mg/mL thiabendazole, 3.2 mg/mL neomycin)
  • Expiration range: 2 years

Does your cat have itchy ears? Whether your cat is scratching uncontrollably or shows more subtle signs of itchy ears, like cat head bobbing, a trip to the veterinarian is often needed to identify and resolve the issue. 

If your veterinarian diagnoses your cat with an ear infection or ear mites, there’s a good chance you will leave with a prescription for a drug called Tresaderm to treat the problem. Tresaderm is also occasionally prescribed as a topical treatment for certain skin infections in cats. 

Let’s take a closer look at this commonly used medicine for cats and learn how it helps our furry feline friends feel better.

What is Tresaderm?

Cat sleeping on rock

Tresaderm is a topical solution consisting of a steroid (dexamethasone) in combination with an antifungal (thiabendazole) and an antibiotic (neomycin). The name-brand drug is a registered trademark of Merial Limited and is FDA approved for the treatment of certain skin and ear infections in both dogs and cats.

There is one FDA-approved generic form available, as well, which is manufactured by Putney, Inc. The generic form of Tresaderm is known as thiabendazole, dexamethasone, neomycin sulfate solution, after its active ingredients.

Is Tresaderm Safe For Cats?

Tresaderm is safe for topical use in cats. It is widely prescribed for felines, with most cats experiencing few (if any) negative reactions or side effects. When these do occur, they are typically mild. 

Pet owners can get Tresaderm for cats through their veterinarian by prescription only.

What Does Tresaderm For Cats Look Like?

Brand-name Tresaderm is a topical solution that comes in a 7.5 mL or 15 mL white dropper bottle which must be kept in the refrigerator. The generic form of thiabendazole, dexamethasone, neomycin sulfate solution may come in different packaging. 

How Does Tresaderm Work?

Cat sitting on table scratchy ears

Tresaderm contains three different medications, each with its own mechanism of action. 

  • Dexamethasone is a steroid that suppresses inflammatory reactions and decreases itching. 
  • Thiabendazole is an antiparasitic and antifungal medication that is effective against yeast infections and ear mites
  • Neomycin is an antibiotic that kills many different types of bacteria, including some that infect the ear and skin. 

What Is Tresaderm Used for In Cats?

Tresaderm is FDA approved for the treatment of certain skin and ear infections in cats and dogs. Your veterinarian may prescribe Tresaderm for your cat to treat conditions including:

  • Bacterial ear infections
  • Yeast ear infections
  • Ear mites
  • Skin infections

How to Give Tresaderm to Cats

vet giving cat ear drops

Instructions for administering Tresaderm vary according to what’s ailing your cat. Always follow your veterinarian’s guidance. And use these tips to ensure your cat gets the full benefit of the application.  

Tresaderm for cat ear infections

Administer Tresaderm topically in the ear canal. To do this, hold the bottle vertically, with the tip pointed down. Place the tip of the bottle into your cat’s ear canal, and gently squeeze the bottle to dispense the desired number of drops.

Remove the bottle and rub the base of your cat’s ear briefly to help work the medication into the ear canal. Then stand back, as your cat will likely want to shake their head — and it’s okay to allow them to do so! You can then repeat this process with the second ear if your veterinarian has instructed you to treat both ears.

Tresaderm for cat skin infections

Apply Tresaderm topically in a light layer to the affected area. Hold the bottle vertically with the tip down and gently squeeze the bottle to moisten the affected area (approximately 2-4 drops per square inch of affected skin). 

Do not allow your cat to lick the Tresaderm off of the area. You may need to use a protective collar, such as an e-collar (also known as an Elizabethan collar) or an alternative, to keep your cat from licking the area.

Tresaderm for Cats Side Effects

Cat scratching ears

Tresaderm is generally safe for cats and has few side effects. Tresaderm is not absorbed systemically, so side effects are limited to local reactions at the site of application. 

Though side effects are rare, if you suspect your cat is experiencing side effects from the Tresaderm application, stop using the medication and contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Side effects from Tresaderm can include:

  • Localized erythema (redness) lasting 24 to 48 hours in cats with hypersensitivity to neomycin
  • Hearing loss if administered to cats with ruptured eardrums
  • Temporary discomfort if the product is applied to compromised or irritated areas of skin, e.g., skin that is split (fissured) or exposed and unprotected due to hair loss (denuded). 

Reactions With Other Drugs and Medications

Dog sleeping at home stretching arms out

Because Tresaderm is only used topically and the drugs are not significantly absorbed systemically, it is unlikely to interact or interfere with other drugs the patient may be taking.

Tresaderm for Cats Dosage

The exact dosage of Tresaderm for your cat will vary depending on your cat’s size and the type and severity of the infection being treated. In general, ear infections and skin infections typically require drops administered twice daily according to your veterinarian’s instructions.

Always follow your veterinarian’s dosage instructions carefully, and be sure to complete the full course of medication. Even if your cat appears to feel better before the course of treatment is complete, it is important to administer all of the medication as prescribed to ensure that the infection is completely cleared.

What If My Cat Misses A Dose Of Tresaderm?

If your cat misses a dose of Tresaderm, give the dose as soon as you remember. If the next dose is due soon, do not double the dose or give two doses at the same time to make up for the missed dose. Simply skip the missed dose and continue on with the next dose as prescribed. 

If your cat has missed multiple doses of Tresaderm, contact your veterinarian for advice on how to proceed. 

Cost of Tresaderm for Cats

The cost of Tresaderm for cat may vary significantly depending on your cat’s dose and your location.

In general, pet parents can expect to pay approximately $25-50 for this product. The generic formulation, if available, may cost less than the brand-name product.

Tresaderm Storage Instructions

When not in use, Tresaderm must be refrigerated. Store in a refrigerator set to a temperature between 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit.