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Baytril (Enrofloxacin) for Cats: Uses, Doses, & Side Effects (Vet Answers)

Paola EC

“Baytril” is the brand name of one of Bayer’s veterinary use medications. The active ingredient of Baytril is enrofloxacin, an antibiotic that belongs to the group of fluoroquinolones. Enrofloxacin is considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means that it is effective against a very wide range of bacteria of both the gram-positive and the gram-negative groups. In particular, cats under enrofloxacin treatment have been reported to develop retinal damage and blindness, for this reason, Baytril is not the first antibiotic of choice to treat cat infections and should be reserved only when it is absolutely necessary and under the prescription and supervision of a veterinarian.cat face divider 2

What is Baytril used for in cats?

Baytril can be used to treat several infections in cats including:

  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Prostate infections
  • Gastrointestinal tract infections

What Is the Recommended Dosage of Baytril for Cats?

Depending on the specific infection to be treated, the veterinarian will give either 2.5 mg/kg twice a day or 5 mg/kg once a day.

A Warning Note: It is always recommended to consult your veterinarian for accurate case-specific treatment. Baytril is only given to cats to treat very specific infections, always follow the veterinarian’s prescriptions. Never give your cat any medication without the prescription and advice of a veterinarian as you might be increasing the cat’s risks instead of helping them.

What Are the Presentations of Baytril?

Baytril is available in 22.7 mg, 68 mg, and 136 mg applications. The tablet is either enteric-coated tablets or chewable tables called taste or flavor tablets.

Baytril is also available in solution for intramuscular injection with either 2.27%, 5%, or 10% concentration, but the veterinarian will not expect you to inject your cat.

What is the Best Way to Give Baytril to My Cat?

Cat vomiting_
Image Credit: Tunatura, Shutterstock

It is recommended to try to give Baytril to your cat on an empty stomach, before food, or after some hours of fasting. This helps to increase the absorption of this medicine. However, if you notice that your cat looks nauseous or vomiting after taking Baytril, you could mix it with a little bit of food to try to prevent this problem. If you noticed that your cat vomited the medication, inform the veterinarian immediately so that you can be advised whether to give the medication again.

  • A good tip that your veterinarian might appreciate is if you could take a picture of the vomit, to give a better idea of the scenario. Nowadays, most of us have a camera that is available and handy to us all day long on our mobile phones. Sharing pictures with the veterinarian is a great way for providing very detailed information taking advantage of the technology available in 2021.

If you have the enteric coat tablets presentation of Baytril, keep in mind that the content inside the tablet has a very bitter flavor, so do not think about crushing the tablet into de food or water, your cat will most likely reject this.

The easiest way to get your cat to take the Baytril is to get the chewable or taste tablets specially flavored to get pets to accept it easier. The enteric coat tablets are only practical if the dose is for a bigger cat and you can make the cat eat the whole tablet. Smaller size cats might need to take ¼ or ½ of the 22 mg tablet; in this case; try to get the flavor tablets instead of the enteric coat tablet to make it easier for your cat to accept the medicine.

A Warning Note: Never give your cat milk or cheese when under treatment with Baytril. The calcium in milk and dairy binds to the medicine and prevents its absorption and distribution making it ineffective.cat face divider 2

The Veterinarian Prescribed My Cat with Baytril but I Forgot to Give One Dose, What Should I Do Now?

If the veterinarian prescribed your cat with Baytril, it is important to try to give every dose on time.  Like any other antibiotic medication, the intention is to keep an active level of the drug circulating in your cat’s bloodstream at strategic time intervals to prevent the bacteria from reproducing, and until the bacteria that is causing the disease is fully eradicated.

The frequency of the medication is different depending on the specific infection that your cat is being treated for and case-specific variables.

Keep in mind that the medicine should be given every 24 hours if prescribed once a day or every 12 hours if prescribed twice a day. So, if you were not able to give the dose when indicated, give it as soon as possible and count either 12 (if the regime is twice a day) or 24 hours intervals (if the regime is twice a day) from that time to give the next dose. Never try to make up for a missed dose by giving double the amount! This puts your cat at serious risk of presenting the very undesired negative effects of Baytril.

What are the Side Effects of Baytril in Cats?

  • Eye damage and blindness (at higher doses)
  • Neurological signs such as:
    • Seizures
    • incoordination
  • Vomiting
  • Lost appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Vocalizations
  • Aggression

What Are the Contraindications of Baytril for Cats?

Like any other medication, Baytril may cause complications with cats suffering from certain medical conditions. If your cat has any of the following, make sure you inform the veterinarian and do not administer Baytril to cats with the following conditions:

  • Renal disease with a big warning, avoid using Baytril in these cases.
  • Is pregnant or lactating.
  • Baytril should never be used in kittens younger than 8 weeks old. Enrofloxacin has been linked to abnormal development of cartilage in young animals that are still growing.
  • Dehydration: Baytril should not be given to dehydrated patients
  • Hepatic disease: the dosage of Baytril should be adjusted in patients with this condition.
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The Importance of Hydration

tabby cat eating cat food out of bowl inside
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

When your cat is under Baytril treatment it is very important to monitor the water intake, the cat should be in good hydration status. Clean, fresh drinking water should be always available to your cat. It is a good cat owner’s practice to always be aware of your cat’s diet and water intake, and this is especially important while your cat is under medical treatment. Inform your veterinarian if you notice your cat is drinking or eating less than usual.

Can Baytril Have Interactions with Other Drugs?

If your cat has been diagnosed with any disease or if your cat is under any form of medical treatment, it is important to inform the Veterinarian about this before administering Baytril. The following is a list of medications known to interact with Baytril; however, if your cat is taking another medication that is not on this list, it is your responsibility to inform the veterinarian about your cat’s ongoing treatments so that he can recommend a safe schedule for your beloved cat.

  • Vitamins
  • Supplements
  • Antiacids
  • Ranitidine
  • Sucralfate
  • Theophylline
  • Cyclosporine

The Veterinarian Prescribed Baytril to My Cat, After 3 Days of Treatment My Cat is Fine, Do I Stop?

The veterinarian is trained to provide your cat with appropriate treatments. Follow your veterinarian’s prescription, and never stop treatment before the recommended course duration. If your cat is looking better that is great news, the recovery prognosis is good! However, you could be putting your cat at great risk by stopping the antibiotics before finishing the full prescription course. If the bacteria are not fully eradicated, they will reproduce as soon as antibiotic levels drop, causing a recurrent infection, and in the worst-case scenario, acquiring resistance against a previously effective treatment. It is your responsibility as an owner to follow the correct doses, frequency, and course of any medical treatment that your veterinarian prescribes to your cat.

The Veterinarian Prescribed Baytril to My Cat, After Giving the First Treatment My Cat Still Looks Sick, Even Worst. What Do I Do?

Always keep your cat under observation while under a new medical treatment. Contact your vet immediately if you notice something that concerns you or if you think that your cat has a bad reaction to the medicine. If the cat has difficulty breathing this is an emergency bring it back to the veterinarian immediately! Also be mindful of skin reactions such as rashes, swelling, scratching, or hives.

If you notice your cat’s eyes look strange when under Baytril treatment, immediately inform the veterinarian about this.

Although Baytril usually has a quick absorption, sometimes it takes time for your pet to recover and feel better. If you notice that your cat still looks very sick 24 or 48 hours after starting the first doses of treatment, inform the veterinarian. A change of treatment plan might be in place.

Never give or remove your cat from any medication without the prescription and advice of a veterinarian as you might be increasing the cat’s risks instead of helping them.

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Featured Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay