Enrofloxacin for Cats - Baytril Dosage, Uses and Side Effects

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. June 26, 2024
Enrofloxacin for Cats - Baytril Dosage, Uses and Side Effects

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Enrofloxacin for cats is a broad-spectrum antibiotic which is commonly sold under the brand name Baytril. Antibiotics are medications with either kill bacteria or inhibit their growth to prevent the spread of infection. Enrofloxacin is a type of antibiotic known as a fluoroquinolone, meaning it is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that kills certain types of bacteria. Various infections can result in a cat needing an antibiotic such as Baytril, but this does not mean it can be used for all of them. A veterinarian must diagnose the infection before enrofloxacin can be prescribed and administered to the cat.

At AnimalWised, we find out what to expect if your animal has been prescribed enrofloxacin for cats. We look at the dosage, uses and side effects of Baytril for cats so you can know what to expect.

  1. What is enrofloxacin for cats?
  2. Enrofloxacin for cats uses
  3. Enrofloxacin dosage for cats
  4. Contraindications of enrofloxacin for cats
  5. Enrofloxacin for cats side effects

What is enrofloxacin for cats?

Enrofloxacin is an antibiotic that is included in the group of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. Its action is both bactericidal and broad spectrum, meaning it kills different types of bacteria. It does so by blocking the replication, transcription and recombination of bacterial DNA and affecting the permeability of their membrane.

Enrofloxacin manages to be effective at low concentrations and achieves considerable bioavailability, even when administered orally. In 2 hours after ingestion, the maximum plasma concentration of enrofloxacin is achieved, maintaining its effect for 24 hours. Enrofloxacin is sold in various preparations, including injectable solutions, oral suspension, tablets and even a topical solution.

Although it is sold under various trade names, the most common is Baytril. Enrofloxacin diffuses widely into fluids and tissues. It also crosses the placenta and blood-brain barrier. It is biotransformed in the liver and excreted through the bile ducts and the kidneys.

Enrofloxacin for cats uses

As an antibiotic, enrofloxacin is effective in treating different infections caused by bacteria. As a broad-spectrum antibiotic, it can be used against both gram negative and gram positive bacteria which can be either anaerobic or aerobic. However, it is most commonly prescribed against gram-negative bacteria.

Well-known examples of bacteria against which enrofloxacin is effective are staphylococci, bordetellae or Escherichia coli. These are usually infections that affect the respiratory tract, digestive tract, genitourinary system, skin or ears.

Despite its effectiveness, enrofloxacin is not an antibiotic for cats which is commonly used as a first option. This is unlike most other broad-spectrum antibiotics. It is usually reserved for when other options have been exhausted or have lost their effectiveness.

The reason enrofloxacin is not usually prescribed initially is due to the prevalence of negative side effects and the desire to reduce bacterial resistance. A sensitivity test will need to be carried out to determine the type of bacteria which has caused the infection. In doing so, we can tell if enrofloxacin will be an effective treatment.

Baytril is not the only antibiotic for cats. Learn about another with our article on the uses, dosage and side effects of feline cephalexin.

Enrofloxacin dosage for cats

Deciding on the appropriate dose of Baytril for our cat is the exclusive responsibility of a veterinarian. Only an experienced professional can choose the format and dosage that best suits the animal's needs. They will determine the exact dose and explain the duration of administration which must be adhered to strictly.

Enrofloxacin for cats dosage example

As an example, enrofloxacin in 50 mg tablets is dosed at a rate of 5 mg per kg of body weight per day for 5 days. Treatment can be prolonged up to 10 days in severe or chronic cases. The tablets can be given in the mouth directly or mixed with food. It is very important to weigh the cat to adjust the dose. An incorrect calculation can result in the treatment being ineffective, as well as increasing the risk of drug overdose.

Our role as caregiver is to scrupulously follow the veterinarian's instructions and ask any questions that may arise. It is essential to prevent the appearance of bacterial resistance, a serious problem that can make these drugs no longer effective. Similarly, if no improvement is seen in about three days, you should inform the professional. It may be necessary to change antibiotics or perform other sensitivity tests.

Contraindications of enrofloxacin for cats

If at any time enrofloxacin or any of its excipients has caused an allergic reaction in the cat, we need to terminate treatment immediately. It is also not recommended to use enrofloxacin in cats with the following characteristics:

  • Less than eight weeks of age
  • Epilepsy
  • Other seizure disorders
  • Alterations in cartilage growth

In cats with severe renal or hepatic impairment, Baytril or other brands of enrofloxacin should be given with caution. It is not recommended to administer this antibiotic to pregnant or lactating cats. It is very important that the veterinarian is informed about whether the cat is taking any other treatment. This is because enrofloxacin can have very negative interactions with other drugs such as tetracyclines. Others could nullify its effect.

There may also be negative effects in combination with theophylline (longer elimination time) or NSAIDs (occurrence of seizures). Its combination with substances containing magnesium, calcium or aluminum must be monitored, as they delay the absorption of enrofloxacin. Antacids, milk or milk substitutes decrease its oral bioavailability.

Learn about another types of antibiotics used in veterinary medicine with our article on doxycycline for cats.

Enrofloxacin for Cats - Baytril Dosage, Uses and Side Effects - Contraindications of enrofloxacin for cats

Enrofloxacin for cats side effects

The side effects that enrofloxacin can occasionally trigger in cats tend to be concentrated in the digestive system, causing various mild and temporary alterations. Relatively common symptoms of enrofloxacin side effects include:

  • Hypersalivation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

Hypersensitivity reactions and disorders in the central nervous system could also be detected. They may result in:

  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Lack of coordination
  • Nervousness

If enrofloxacin is administered to the cat following the veterinarian's guidelines, adverse effects are less likely to occur.

Enrofloxacin overdose

In cats, a higher dose than necessary can lead to serious retinal disorders. These can be so extensive that it causes irreversible blindness in the cat.

Other effects of overdose are those of intoxication. These include vomiting, diarrhea or alterations in behavior caused by the effect on their central nervous system such as mydriasis (dilation of the pupil) or incoordination. In these cases, you must go to the veterinarian. There is no antidote, so the symptoms will have to be managed until the feline is stabilized.

If the cat presents any clinical sign that we suspect is a product of the antibiotic, we must immediately notify a professional. This includes any signs we have not mentioned.

Although enrofloxacin is not usually prescribed to humans, it is important never to give any antibiotics intended for humans to cats. Not only will it likely be ineffective, it may contain dosages or ingredients which are very harmful to the cat.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Enrofloxacin for Cats - Baytril Dosage, Uses and Side Effects, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.

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Enrofloxacin for Cats - Baytril Dosage, Uses and Side Effects