Baytril is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is manufactured by the Bayer company. The medication is FDA approved for use in several animals which includes cats, dogs, and horses to treat bacterial infections.
It belongs to a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, and is effective against several species of bacteria but has no effect on viral, fungal or parasitic infections. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are capable of acting on the two major bacteria groups, gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Mechanism of action
Baytril inhibits bacterial DNA-gyrase, an enzyme which inhibits inhibiting both DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) synthesis. Bacterial cell death occurs within 20-30 minutes of exposure.
For the treatment of single or mixed bacterial infections, which include the following:
- Urinary tract infections
- Gastrointestinal tract infections
- Upper respiratory infections
- Wound infections
- Skin and soft tissue infections
Bacteria susceptible to Baytril include Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella sp, E. Coli, Enterobacter, Campylobacter, Shigella, Salmonella, Aeromonas, Haemophilus, Proteus, Yersinia, Serratia, Vibrio sp., Mycoplasma, and Mycobacterium. 
Mode of delivery
Baytril is available in tablet, liquid (Baytril otic for the ears), flavoured liquid and injection. Baytril has a bitter taste; therefore the tablets are coated. Crushing and hiding Baytril in food is unlikely to be effective due to its bitter taste. Drooling can occur in cats due to its bitter taste, ensure the cat has access to clean drinking water.
Shake liquid Baytril before administration.
Baytril dosage for cats:
Oral tablets and liquid suspension – 5 mg/per kilo, per day, or as instructed by your veterinarian, in some cases, veterinarians will prescribe a half dose twice a day.
Always follow the instructions provided by the prescribing veterinarian.
What happens if I give my cat too much?
Baytril has a wide margin of safety, and it is unlikely the cat will experience more than loss of appetite and vomiting if given too much. Dogs receiving doses ten times the standard rate of
enrofloxacin for at least 14 days developed only some vomiting and anorexia. However, death did occur in some dogs when fed 25 times the labelled rate for 11 days. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has had a larger dose than prescribed.
One person should be responsible for administering medications; this reduces the chances of the cat receiving a double dose.
Do not use in cats with:
- Impaired cartilage growth
- Known seizure disorders
- Hypersensitivity to fluoroquinolones
Baytril is eliminated by both the kidneys and the liver; therefore, it is important to monitor cats with impaired kidney or liver function and prescribe a lower dose to prevent the drug accumulating in the system.
The safety of Baytril in pregnant dogs demonstrated no side-effects, however safety in breeding, pregnant or lactating cats has not been established.
Due to decreased absorption, do not use Baytril within two hours of administering the following:
- Dairy products
Baytril may react with the following medications :
- Extended-spectrum penicillins
What happens if I miss a dose?
Give the cat the medication as soon as you remember, however, if it is close to the time the next dose, skip the missed one. Never give two doses at once.
The adverse effects of Baytril are minimal but can include:
- Gastrointestinal disorders such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
- Retinal degeneration, resulting in blindness has been reported in cats who received much higher doses than the recommended 5 mg per kilo, per day.
- Cartilage damage in developing kittens who received an oral dose of 25 mg per kilo per day, (which is much higher than the recommended 5 mg per kilo, per day) for 30 days. Although Bayer says, no cartilage lesions have occurred in kittens.
- In humans, reported adverse effects include sensitivity to light, ataxia (wobbly gait), tremors and other neurologic signs, and crystals in the urine (crystalluria).
- Baytril may lower the seizure threshold in cats with known seizure disorders.
Store in a tight container at temperatures under 30C and out of strong light.
Do not store in areas of high humidity, such as bathrooms.
- Always follow the instructions listed on the label and make sure the full course is given, even if symptoms resolve before the course has been finished.
- Never administer a prescribed medication (including Baytril) to other pets unless prescribed by a veterinarian.
- Do not administer Baytril at a higher dose than prescribed.
- Do not administer Baytril more or less frequently than prescribed.
- Store out of reach of animals and children.
- Never administer Baytril that has expired.
- Always inform the veterinarian of underlying health conditions the cat has and if the cat is taking prescribed or non-prescribed medications or supplements.
- Do not administer if the cat has a known allergy to Baytril.
Can Baytril treat cat flu?
Feline herpesvirus and calicivirus account for 80% of cases of cat flu, and antibiotics are not effective against viral infections. In some cat cases, veterinarians will prescribe antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections in cats with cat flu.
Should I give Baytril with food?
Baytril is safe with or without food but never administer with dairy and always follow instructions on the label.
Can humans take Baytril?
No, Baytril is toxic to people. Ciprofloxacin is a similar antibiotic which is for human use.
[1 & 2] PLUMB, Donald C, Veterinary Drug Handbook. 3rd edition.