Duramycin Injectable For Chickens: Usage & Dosage Guide

The poultry industry relies on antibiotics like Duramycin for disease prevention and growth promotion in chickens raised for meat and eggs. However, antibiotic use in livestock contributes to antibiotic resistance in bacteria that can spread to humans. 

Duramycin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections and respiratory diseases in chickens. This article provides an overview of Duramycin, including its uses, dosage, side effects, drug interactions, and alternatives.

Understanding the proper use of Duramycin enables informed decisions about antibiotic use to maximize chicken health while minimizing risks of antibiotic resistance. Key topics covered include:

  • How Duramycin works
  • Approved uses of Duramycin in chickens
  • Recommended dosage and administration
  • Potential side effects and withdrawal period
  • Drug interactions to avoid
  • Alternatives to Duramycin for common chicken infections
Duramycin Injectable For Chickens

What is Duramycin?

Duramycin is a tetracycline antibiotic used in chickens for the treatment and control of chronic respiratory disease (CRD) and as an aid in the prevention and control of other bacterial diseases.

Duramycin is manufactured by Elanco Animal Health. It contains the antibiotic compound duramycin hydrochloride and belongs to the tetracycline class of antibiotics. Duramycin injection is approved for use in broiler chickens, replacement pullets, and breeder hens.

Duramycin is specifically indicated for the treatment and control of CRD, infectious sinusitis caused by Mycoplasma gallisepticum, and as an aid in the prevention and control of other diseases like fowl cholera and salmonellosis.

How Does Duramycin Work?

Duramycin is an antibiotic that works by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis. It binds to the 50S ribosomal subunit of susceptible bacteria, preventing the translocation of aminoacyl transfer-RNA. This disrupts the process of protein synthesis, preventing bacterial growth.

Duramycin is considered primarily bacteriostatic, meaning it stops bacteria from multiplying further but does not necessarily kill them outright. However, duramycin has also shown bactericidal effects against some susceptible strains.

The key difference between bacteriostatic and bactericidal antibiotics is:

– Bacteriostatic antibiotics inhibit bacterial growth and reproduction but may not kill the bacteria. The infection is contained but not eliminated.

– Bactericidal antibiotics kill bacteria directly. They are more effective at eliminating bacterial infections.

Duramycin mainly works by halting bacterial protein production through ribosomal binding. It prevents bacterial replication but is not necessarily lethal to the bacteria. This makes duramycin mostly bacteriostatic, though it can also exhibit bactericidal properties against some strains.

Uses of Duramycin in Chickens

Duramycin is commonly used in chickens for the treatment and control of respiratory diseases. The two main uses are:

1) Treatment of chronic respiratory disease (CRD)

Chronic respiratory disease (CRD) is a bacterial infection caused by Mycoplasma gallisepticum that results in sinusitis, airsacculitis, and pneumonia in chickens.

Duramycin is effective in treating the infection by inhibiting protein synthesis in the bacteria. It is administered in the drinking water or by injection. Duramycin helps control the symptoms, minimize damage, and reduce transmission of CRD in chickens.

2) Control of infectious sinusitis

Infectious sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinus cavities caused by bacterial infections like Mycoplasma synoviae. The infection results in nasal discharge, swelling of sinuses, and respiratory distress.

Duramycin given in drinking water is effective in controlling the infection, reducing nasal discharge, and improving respiration. It inhibits the Mycoplasma bacteria allowing the chicken’s immune system to clear the infection.

Dosage and Administration

Duramycin is administered to chickens via intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. The recommended dosage is 5-10 mg per kg bodyweight (2.5-5mg/lb) per day for 3-5 days. It should be injected into the breast muscle or under the skin in the neck area.

For administration, Duramycin powder should be reconstituted with sterile water to create a solution. The concentration is usually 100mg/mL. So for a 1kg chicken, inject 0.5-1mL of the reconstituted Duramycin solution.

The treatment duration of Duramycin injection is typically 3-5 days. However, severe infections may require longer treatment of 5-7 days. The injections should be continued for at least 48 hours after symptoms resolve.

Chickens receiving treatment should also have access to adequate drinking water. Do not administer more than 10mg/kg per day. Overdosing can potentially cause side effects. Carefully calculate and measure doses before injecting.

Possible Side Effects

When used correctly, Duramycin injectable solution is generally well tolerated in chickens. However, some potential side effects may occur:

– Local reactions at the injection site like swelling, discoloration, or irritation are possible. These are usually mild and resolve quickly.

– Rarely, allergic reactions could occur in sensitive birds after administration. Signs include facial swelling, scratching, and restlessness.

– High doses or prolonged use may lead to diarrhea or disruption of gut microflora. This can lead to secondary infections.

– There are no known effects on the quality or taste of eggs or meat obtained from treated chickens. Duramycin is not allowed to be used in layers producing eggs for human consumption.

– Proper withdrawal periods should be observed before slaughtering birds for meat. This ensures low drug residues remain in the tissues.

– No teratogenic, reproductive, or mutagenic effects have been reported with Duramycin use in chickens when given at therapeutic doses.

Duramycin injectable solution is very safe when used as directed and at the recommended dosage. Side effects in chickens are uncommon. Following label instructions and withdrawal times will minimize any potential risks.

Withdrawal Period

The FDA requires a mandatory withdrawal period for Duramycin before chickens can be slaughtered for human consumption. This allows time for the drug residues to clear from the animals’ systems and protects consumer health.

– For broiler and replacement chickens, the withdrawal period is 5 days. This means chickens cannot be slaughtered for meat for at least 5 days after the last treatment with Duramycin.

– For laying hens, the withdrawal period is 7 days for eggs. Eggs cannot be collected for human consumption for at least 6 days after the last Duramycin treatment. This allows any drug residues to clear before the eggs enter the human food supply.

It’s important for poultry and egg producers to carefully follow these FDA-mandated withdrawal times after using Duramycin injection, to ensure no potentially harmful residues enter the human food supply. Also, withdrawing medication at the proper time prevents antibiotic resistance.

Drug Interactions

Duramycin is known to interact with certain other medications when used in chickens. Some important drug interactions to be aware of include:

– Antibiotics like penicillins and cephalosporins: Using Duramycin together with these other antibiotics can decrease the effectiveness of both drugs. It’s best to avoid using Duramycin and other antibiotics concurrently.

– Anticoagulants: Drugs that thin the blood, like warfarin, can potentially interact with Duramycin. Duramycin may enhance the anticoagulant effect, increasing the risk of bleeding or bruising.

– Cholinergic drugs: Medications that affect the neurotransmitter acetylcholine can potentially have their effects altered when given with Duramycin. This includes drugs like neostigmine.

– Antacids and mineral supplements: Duramycin absorption can be reduced when given together with products containing aluminum, calcium, magnesium, or iron. Separating the administration times may help avoid this interaction.

– Vitamins: Duramycin may reduce absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K. Supplementation may be needed to prevent deficiencies.

– Immunosuppressants: Duramycin has the potential to alter immune system function. Using it along with immunosuppressive drugs could increase the risk of infection or other immune-related side effects.

Be aware of any other medications being given to chickens who are also receiving Duramycin injections. Seek veterinary advice to manage any potential drug interactions or separation of dosing times. Monitoring for side effects is also recommended.

Alternatives to Duramycin

There are a few alternatives to using Duramycin for treating respiratory infections in chickens.

Other Antibiotic Options

  • Some other antibiotics that can be used instead of Duramycin include:
  • Tetracyclines like oxytetracycline: These have a broad spectrum of activity against bacterial respiratory infections.
  • Penicillins like amoxicillin: Effective against common bacteria like E. coli and Staphylococcus.
  • Macrolides like erythromycin: These have activity against Mycoplasma bacteria which can cause respiratory illness.
  • Fluoroquinolones like enrofloxacin: Potent antibiotics that penetrate tissues well.

Non-Antibiotic Approaches 

There are also some non-antibiotic approaches to help prevent and manage respiratory infections in chickens:

  • Improve ventilation and air quality in the coop to reduce exposure to respiratory pathogens.
  • Use probiotics and prebiotics to support healthy gut and immune function.
  • Ensure chickens are not overcrowded and have low stress levels.
  • Vaccinate chickens against common respiratory viruses and bacteria.
  • Use natural products like oregano oil, garlic, or olive leaf extract to promote respiratory health.
  • Provide chickens with a nutritious diet to support immune function.
  • Use good biosecurity practices to prevent the introduction and spread of pathogens.

These are alternative antibiotic options as well as non-medication approaches to consider when treating or preventing respiratory infections in chickens. Good management and nutrition are key.

Related: Amoxicillin for Chickens: Dosage, Side Effects, and More


Duramycin injectable is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections in chickens caused by organisms susceptible to the drug. As discussed, Duramycin is administered by injection, and emphasis is made on adhering strictly to the recommended dose. I hope you find this piece helpful.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.