What Is Baytril?

Enrofloxacin, marketed under the brand name Baytril, is part of the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics. Available by prescription only, it's used in dogs and cats to treat tough bacterial infections. While generally safe and effective for veterinary use, humans should not take this drug. Baytril is toxic to people. The human equivalent of enrofloxacin is ciprofloxacin.

Vet giving cat medicine through mouth
A veterinarian giving medicine to a kitten with a dropper.
credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Baytril for Pets

As a broad-spectrum antibiotic, Baytril can eradicate both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Available both as tablets and as an injectable, Baytril works by stopping bacteria from transcribing DNA. The drugs renders it impossible for an enzyme assigned to this job to read the DNA, causing the bacteria to die. The drug has the ability to penetrate into all fluids and tissues in the animal's body.

Baytril Uses

If your pet is diagnosed with a skin, respiratory or urinary tract infection, your vet might prescribe Baytril. It's also commonly prescribed for stubborn ear infections, often at high doses. If your dog or cat experiences an abscess with strains of Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli or Pasteurella multocida, Baytril can kill the bacteria. Some of these bacteria, along with others also vulnerable to Baytril, cause cystitis in the bladder, or rhinitis or pneumonia in the respiratory system.

Side Effects

Baytril is generally well-tolerated by dogs and cats, but some animals do experience side effects. That's especially true if a high dose, to combat serious infections, is prescribed. In dogs, high doses of Baytril can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Other possible side effects include appetite loss and lethargy. Cats receiving high doses of Baytril can develop retinal damage. Long-term use in felines and canines can cause cataract formation. While Baytril can cause crystal formation in urine, these are not the same type of crystals that cause urinary tract disease.

Precautions and Contraindications

Pregnant or lactating animals should not receive this medication. Dogs under the age of 8 months should not receive Baytril, as the drug can damage growing joint cartilage in canines. This does not appear to be true in cats. Animals with disorders of the central nervous system should not receive this medication, as it can raise the chance of seizures. Tell your vet about any medications or supplements your pet receives. Medications or supplements containing zinc, iron, calcium or magnesium prevent Baytril absorption, so wait at least two hours between the administration of Baytril and these substances.