Veterinary Drug Handbook (VDH) is the reference veterinarians turn to when they want an independent source of information on the drugs that are used in veterinary medicine today.


Chemistry - An aminocyclitol antibiotic obtained from Streptomyces spectabilis, spectinomycin isavailable as the dihydrochloride pentahydrate. It occurs as a white to pale buff, crystalline powderwith pKas of 7 and 8.7. It is freely soluble in water and practically insoluble in alcohol.

Storage, Stability, Compatibility

Unless otherwise instructed by the manufacturer, spectinomycin products should be stored at room temperature (15-30°C).


Spectinomycin is primarily a bacteriostatic antibiotic that inhibits protein synthesis in susceptible bacteria by binding to the 30S ribosomal subunit.
Spectinomycin has activity against a wide variety of gram positive and gram negative bacteria, including E. coli, Klebsiella, Proteus, Enterobacter, Salmonella, Streptococci, Staphylococcus and Mycoplasma. It has minimal activity against anaerobes, most strains of Pseudomonas, Chlamydia, or Treponema.
In human medicine, spectinomycin is used principally for its activity against Neissiera gonorrhoeae.
Uses, Indications - Although occasionally used in dogs, cats, horses and cattle for susceptible infections, spectinomycin is only approved for use in chickens, turkeys and swine. Refer to the
Dosage section below for more information on approved uses.

Pharmacokinetics - SPECTINOMYCIN HCL

After oral administration only about 7% of the dose is absorbed, but the drugthat remains in the GI tract is active. When injected SQ or IM, the drug is reportedly well absorbedwith peak levels occurring in about 1 hour.
Tissue levels of absorbed drug are lower than those found in the serum. Spectinomycin does notappreciably enter the CSF or the eye and is not bound significantly to plasma proteins. It is unknown whether spectinomycin crosses the placenta or enters milk.
Absorbed drug is excreted via glomerular filtration into the urine mostly unchanged. No specificpharmacokinetic parameters were located for veterinary species.

Contraindications, Precautions, Reproductive Safety

Spectinomycin is contraindicated in patients hypersensitive to it. The reproductive safety of the drug is not known.

Adverse Effects, Warnings

When used as labeled, adverse effects are unlikely with this drug. Itis reported that parenteral use of this drug is much safer than with other aminocyclitol antibiotics, but little is known regarding prolonged use of the drug. It is probably safe to say thatspectinomycin is significantly less ototoxic and nephrotoxic than other commonly usedaminocyclitol antibiotics, but can cause neuromuscular blockade. Parenteral calcium administrationwill generally reverse the blockade.
Adverse effects that have been reported in human patients receiving the drug in single or multidosestudies include soreness at injection site, increases in BUN, alkaline phosphatase and SGPT, anddecreases in hemoglobin, hematocrit and creatinine clearance. Although increases in BUN anddecreases in creatinine clearance and urine output have been noted, overt renal toxicity has not beendemonstrated with this drug.

Overdosage, Acute Toxicity

No specific information was located on oral overdoses, but becausethe drug is negligibly absorbed after oral administration, significant toxicity is unlikely via thisroute.
Injected doses of 90 mg produced transient ataxia in turkey poults.

Drug Interactions

Antagonism has been reported when spectinomycin is used with chloramphenicol or tetracycline.

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