Silver Sulfadiazine

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SIL-ver sul-fuh-DI-uh-zeen - Pronunciation guide

Brand Names

  • Ascend Silver Sulfadiazine Cream
  • Silvadene
  • SSD
  • Thermazene


Rx symbolSilver sulfadiazine is a broad-spectrum, synthetic antibacterial agent with a chemical structure that includes sulfur and nitrogen atoms. It is effective against many gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. It acts on the cell membrane and cell wall. Silver sulfadiazine is typically delivered in a 1% solution suspended in a water-soluble base.


Silver sulfadiazine is used primarily as a topical burn cream on second and third degree burns in horses. It prevents the growth of a wide array of bacteria, as well as yeast, on damaged skin. It is also helpful on other shallow, large area wounds such as abrasions.

Ongoing research also shows that silver sulfadiazine may be an effective treatment against common corneal fungal infections in horses. The American Journal of Veterinary research reports that it may be a therapeutic option in the treatment of equine keratomycosis.

Dosage and Administration

Prescription medicationSilver Sulfadiazine
Method Dosage
(click row for calculator)
Concentration Period Duration
Topical Thin layer 1% cream Reapply as necessary NA


  • Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.
  • Extra-label use of drugs in treating animals is allowable only by licensed veterinarians within the context of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship, and does not include drug use in treating animals by the layman (except under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian).
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your equine appears to feel better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse.
  • This medication may be available in forms and concentrations not noted in the above table. Always check the label and literature provided with the medication about the form and concentration and DO NOT USE the calculator if the information differs.
  • Calculator is for educational purposes only. Follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding use of this, or any medication.

Use of silver sulfadiazine may create areas of dead skin, a burning sensation, red and raised rash on the body, and skin discoloration.


Monitoring of blood count and serum sulfadiazine concentration may be necessary in cases of treatment of extensive burns.

Urinalyses may be required prior to and periodically during treatment to detect crystalluria and/or urinary calculi formation in horses with impaired renal function on long-term or high-dose therapy. .

Prolonged use may lead to liver impairment and may cause hemolytic anemia.

Animals sensitive to other sulfonamides such as furosemide may be sensitive to silver sulfadiazine.

Silver sulfadiazine is FDA approved for use in horses and is a prescription drug restricted to use by or on the oral or written prescription of a licensed veterinarian.

Check with the appropriate regulatory body concerning use in competition horses.


Concurrent use with cimetidine may increase the incidence of leukopenia. Concurrent use of proteolytic enzymes such as collagenase, papain, or sutilains is not recommended since heavy metal salts may inactivate the enzymes.


In case of overdose, contact your veterinarian immediately and follow directions on manufacturer's information.


Silver Sulfadiazine CreamSilver Sulfadiazine Cream


About the Author

EquiMed Staff

EquiMed staff writers team up to provide articles that require periodic updates based on evolving methods of equine healthcare. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional.