updated 9/8/2004 2:30:14 PM ET 2004-09-08T18:30:14

The Food and Drug Administration approved using an antibiotic originally designed for humans to help treat skin infections suffered by dogs.

Simplicef was developed by Pharmacia & Upjohn Co., a division of Pfizer. Dogs ingest a single film-coated tablet once per day to treat wound infections caused by several types of bacteria including Escherichia coli, Pasteurella multocida and Staphylococcus aureus.

Infected dogs break out in rashes that redden, swell and roughen the dog’s skin. As infection worsens, “hot spots” can deepen, ooze and cause the dog’s hair to fall out.

It is common for veterinarians to turn to antimicrobials approved for humans when dogs suffer similar skin infections. The FDA approval provides guidance on how much drug can safely be given to the canines once Simplicef is available to veterinarians this fall.

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