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Is Ciprofloxacin Safe for Dogs?

Is Ciprofloxacin Safe for Dogs?

Ciprofloxacin is unsafe for dogs who haven't yet reached 1 year of age. During this period, dogs are still growing, which cannot be sustained if medications like ciprofloxacin are given. To be more specific, the antibiotic may interfere with the growth of the dog's bones and joints.
DogAppy Staff
Did You Know?
The daily dosage of ciprofloxacin will vary from 5 to 7 mg for every pound of the dog's weight.
Is ciprofloxacin safe for veterinary use? First of all, the antibiotic is available only in a human formulation, so its usage for dogs does not have the consent of FDA. In simple words, it is prescribed off-label for veterinary purposes.
The medication may be used to treat UTIs, ear infections, and wounds in dogs. Ciprofloxacin eye drops may also be recommended to relieve bacterial eye infections in dogs. This human drug preparation is relatively safe in dogs but make sure it is prescribed by an experienced and competent veterinarian before usage.
Safety of Ciprofloxacin in Dogs
Since the safety of your dog is your top priority, whenever giving ciprofloxacin to your dog, you need to know the circumstances that can make it unsafe for him. Here we discuss the same.
Age
Age is a crucial factor in determining the safety of this antibiotic. Experts warn against use of ciprofloxacin in dogs who haven't crossed 52 weeks of age. In simple words, dogs less than 1-year old should not be given ciprofloxacin. This is because a dog who hasn't yet completed 1 year of age is actually a puppy.
During this phase, enormous growth and development is seen in puppies. However, ciprofloxacin can inhibit normal development of connective tissues in the dog's joints and bones. There have been reports of ciprofloxacin severely damaging the cartilage of weight-carrying joints. So to ensure the healthy growth of bones and joints, you need to avoid giving antibiotics like ciprofloxacin to your less than 1-year old dog.
However, Great Danes, Mastiffs, Irish Wolfhounds, and even German Shepherds are dogs from large breeds. These large-breed dogs have a much longer growing phase that usually lasts up to 2 years. So avoid giving ciprofloxacin unless these large breed puppies do not complete 2 years of age.
Pregnancy
Pregnant dogs are not suitable for treatment with ciprofloxacin. The U.S. FDA has classified ciprofloxacin as a pregnancy C category drug, which means animal studies have proven that the medication can negatively affect fetal development. The offspring of dogs exposed to ciprofloxacin may develop joint problems. So since ciprofloxacin carries a fetal risk, it should not be given to pregnant dogs.
Allergy
Ciprofloxacin is classified as a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. So dogs who are allergic to antibiotics that belong to the fluoroquinolone family are deemed unfit for treatment with these medications. A severe allergic reaction can cause trouble breathing in dogs, which requires urgent veterinary attention.
Pre-existing Health Condition
A more cautious approach is advised when it comes to giving ciprofloxacin in dogs with kidney or liver problems. This is because the medication is metabolized in the liver and eliminated through the kidneys. Also, dogs with a history of CNS disorders carry greater chances of getting seizures from the use of these antibiotics. So after considering the overall health status of your pet, the dosage needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Caution
  • Since ciprofloxacin is an extra-label drug, it has to be given only if necessary, that too after consulting a vet. Lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting are some of the side effects from the veterinary use of ciprofloxacin. As far as the side effects from eye drops are concerned, they may cause eye swelling, corneal defects, and even retinal damage.
  • If you are not comfortable giving the antibiotic to your pet for the fear of side effects, make sure you feed premium quality dog food that supports a healthy immune system. This too can help to thwart the infection naturally.
All in all, to minimize the risk of side effects, ciprofloxacin should be given in the right dosage as instructed by your veterinarian. Since it is an off-label drug, it should not be used without consulting a vet. He may conduct a blood or a urine test to evaluate the type of infection. Only after proper diagnosis, the antibiotic may be prescribed.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.