Floxie Pets: Has Your Cat Been Harmed by Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics?

By Ruth Young

I recently had the good fortune to speak over the phone with Lisa Bloomquist, creator of the website www.floxiepets.com. Regulars to PoC will remember that I was floxed in February of this year. Being floxed is just another way to say that you have been poisoned by a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. As I have gradually returned to health, I have been haunted by the thought that the hell I went through could be something animals are enduring, could be something my precious Monty might endure.

Cat given antibiotics

Rickie

It turns out the same thoughts occurred to Lisa, who first created the website floxiehope.com after being floxed in 2011. Lisa has now fully healed, but created floxiehope to help those still suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome. Like me, she found comfort in her feline companion during her long journey back to health. She found herself watching her cat Rickie (see photo above) jumping all over and imagined what it would be like if his tendons were weakened. She allows Rickie free access to countertops and says, “I look at those springy hind legs and I know it would devastate him.” So she has recently added a new website dealing specifically with stories of pets harmed by fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

These drugs are routinely given to farm animals. Animal testing is done using these drugs resulting in terrible side effects, such as lameness in puppies. But the horror does not stop there, because your cat could very easily experience the effects of fluoroquinolone toxicity if your vet prescribes any of these drugs: Baytril, Floxasol or Advocin. It is best to question any drug given to determine that it is not a quinolone or fluoroquinolone, because they all can have damaging side effects. Drug names can change and new ones can be added. Be sure to ask what class the drug is in, especially if you know it to be an antibiotic.

Lisa states that the real tragedy of the poisoning of our pets is that our pets trust us. We can end up betraying that trust without knowing what we have done, until it is too late. People assume there are checks and balances to protect us ,and our pets, from medications that might be harmful, but too often these checks and balances are failing. Our pets can’t speak up for themselves, so we need to be their advocates. In fact, Lisa says that we need to be screaming to the vets that this needs to stop.

Screaming is not an overreaction. Your beloved dog or cat can end up with a multi-symptom chronic illness just from antibiotics given during a simple tooth extraction! Lisa points out that humans can understand an explanation of what has happened to them. They can be told what symptoms to expect and given a timeline as to when they might recover. Animals have no idea what hit them, when suddenly they are experiencing the horrible symptoms caused by these drugs. Animals are innocent, so it makes stories of their suffering especially appalling.

Do not assume your vet knows the risks and/or will inform you of them. There is the story of a cat named Shadow posted on floxiepets. Shadow was blinded after being given Baytril. Cats lack an enzyme that could protect their eyes from damage after being given a fluoroquinolone. The vet should have warned Shadow’s caretaker to keep Shadow inside, and away from bright light. After going outside on a sunny day, Shadow became permanently blind.

Lisa admits that most of her research on fluoroquinolones deals with their effects on humans. However, animals are not all that different from humans. Animals do have emotions. They do feel pain. But they don’t always communicate that pain in ways we humans can understand. Regulars at PoC have discussed the stoic nature of cats, making it difficult at times to diagnose and treat feline pain. Lisa pointed out that dogs also hide their pain. Pack animals will do this, because a weakened animal might be cast out from the pack. The dog will hide his suffering from the humans who might help him, because the dog’s instincts say that he must not let his pack perceive him as weak.

Sometimes the first signs of fluoroquinolone toxicity are swollen joints and decreased mobility. Having been floxed, Lisa and I can both attest to the fact that tendon and joint pain is the tip of the iceberg. Panic attacks, an inability to sleep or relax, intense burning sensations all over your body, ringing in your ears, confusion and fatigue are all possible symptoms that an animal cannot communicate to you. Lisa most fears the loss of mobility for her beautiful cat Rickie. I fear most that Monty would suffer the killer insomnia I’ve had at times since being floxed. This is insomnia beyond simply being unable to sleep, but actually being unable to relax at all. I have had days go by during which if I relax my skin burns, my muscles cramp and tighten and my ears ring. I see Monty relaxed and happy, and I shudder to think of him enduring that kind of torture.

Lisa’s websites have been very instructional for me. I have learned that fluoroquinolones damage us in many horrible ways. The chelation1 of magnesium, as serious as that is, is but the tip of the iceberg. Fluoroquinolones bind to GABA receptors. GABA allows you to relax. When your body is flooded with something with an affinity for a certain type of receptor, some of those receptors are pruned by the body. Because of this effect, I don’t currently have enough receptors for GABA, so sometimes I can’t relax. It is very similar to withdrawal from Benzodiazepines, and like Benzo withdrawal, the symptoms can cycle and last for months or even years. This is not the worst that drugs like the Cipro Lisa and I took can do.

These drugs also can harm your mitochondria, damaging your cells at the DNA level. Lisa has many good articles about this posted on her websites. The problem is that people and animals can tolerate some of this type of damage, for awhile. But when a certain threshold is reached, irreparable damage can occur.

If your cat was given Baytril in the past and was fine, please do not assume that he or she can take it again without incident. If your cat was recently given Baytril and seems fine, please keep a close eye on your animal for any evidence of poisoning. Some of these reactions, especially those caused by mitochondrial damage, can be delayed. Although the drug might have been given a month or more ago, the reaction can be startlingly severe and sudden.

I know all of this is scary, but the best thing any of us can do is to educate ourselves and educate our vets. Lisa has many good articles and research posted on her websites, which can be printed out and taken to your veterinarian or to your doctor. Many of you in the PoC community have taken it upon yourselves to educate your vets about the problems caused by declawing cats, so I know you will not find it difficult to speak to your vets about these very dangerous medications. At the very least, we can protect our own pets. If we can convince the vet to stop prescribing these drugs we will protect even more animals.

Ruth and Monty (who is still busy helping his mom get well)

Note: (1) Chelation: the removal of a metal from the bloodstream

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Comments

Floxie Pets: Has Your Cat Been Harmed by Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics? — 22 Comments

  1. Ruth and Lisa. Thank you for this useful information. It is something I had not considered until I read this article. I don’t know if the drug is used in the UK or anywhere outside the USA.

    I’d like to do some more work on this myself. Antibiotics are usually considered safe with minimal side effects. That is my reading of the situation so this is something new for me.

    • I hope Lisa will stay around and become part of our little family at PoC. I knew right away when she said she lets Rickie up on her counter tops that she would fit right in!

    • Yes Michael, they are used in the UK. I have been dealing with the damage caused by FQs to myself now for 25 years. My cat shadow was also given a FQ BAYTRIL , his story is on floxiepets . He went totally irreversibly & permanently blind overnight. These ‘antibiotics ‘ are not your usual penicillin but are instead actually synthetic neurotoxic chemotherapeutic agents. Vets as with many Drs, do not have a clue just how dangerous they are. It does not just happen with high doses either. Shadow was given a normal dose for his weight. If your cat is prescribed a FQ, vets are meant to tell you to keep your cat indoors whilst they are under treatment. as they are photo toxic.The FQs are particularly specifically toxic to a cats eyes, they cause retinal degeneration. IMO they should not be prescribed unless your cat will die without them.

      • Thanks Debs. Excellent advice and information. Terribly sorry to hear of Shadow going blind. Horrible. They are a last resort antibiotic. I’ll ask my vet the next time he prescribes antibiotics.

    • The veterinarian injected our cat with 60mg of enrofloxacin and then sent us home with an Rx to give her a 68mg taste tab per day. Day 4 she lost most of her vision. Two and a half months later we lost her to acute liver failure. The vet denies wrong doing and it is now headed to court, yes we filed and before the SVB.

      • OMG, your story sounds horrendous. I am so sorry to hear it but thanks for sharing. It may help others. So sad.

        • I forgot to mention the upper dose for a cat is 5mg/kg She was 6kg. The vision warning is on every bottle of this medication no matter who manufactures it. We had no access to that bottle and she failed to warn us.
          My cat had an URI. She lost her life for no reason. The vet tried to bully us with a lawyer and we are fighting back. Next Monday she or her lawyer will be forced to produce our cat’s chart notes. Something she has refused to do.

        • The Veterinarian in question in her deposition to the State Veterinary Board for her defense turned it into a confession when she admitted she used the Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook published in 1999 to calculate the correct dose of enrofloxacin. And that she has been using that calculation on cats for the past 16 years.
          The Board ruled in my favor.

  2. Ruth – great article – thanks for making me think about this.

    As you know I suffered a very allergic reaction to fluoroquinolones so I know exactly where you are coming from.

    The thought of one of my cats going through that is awful. It really would be terrible. I can’t imagine it. I really think that one should never ever accept what the vet says without quadruple checking it.

    Clearly they are more willing to take risks on our animals than we are – so as a minimum we should at least know the actual risk and side effects – so it doesn’t come as a suprise. Because that would be devastating.

    Some kittens I saw yesterday 🙂

    • Marc, I still say you didn’t have an allergic reaction, that’s just what Cipro can do. To anyone. But it is good just to tell healthcare providers in the future that you are allergic to it. They don’t really care whether it’s truly an allergy, they just want to know what drugs can potentially harm you.
      Since you recovered, Marc, you might want to tell your story at Lisa’s floxiehope website. People suffering from drugs like Cipro need to hear that some people do recover completely. I will be posting my story there once I’m relatively sure that I am completely recovered. Three months would be very, very fast to get totally well and I still have a few mild symptoms hanging around, with the possibility of a relapse or two in my future yet. But if in a month’s time my symptoms are continuing to improve, and no relapse, I will be putting my story on there. I think you should too, Marc, even though it was a long time ago. Your reaction was very severe and yet you are doing well today. That will give people a lot of hope and when you have been poisoned by a fluoroquinolone you desperately need that.

  3. Great article by the way i never really thought of it before. As never really had a problem with it myself. It sounds absolutely horrible with what ruth and marc been saying. With antibiotics being resistance to now its prob time for a better natural option if there can ever be that. I remember last year i had a really bad tooth infection last year and my face ended up blown up on right side of my face was so horrible had to go to hosp and go on trip and go on antibiotics took forever to heal it almost went to my brain. It just makes u realise how important it is to get on to things immediatly

    • I agree with you, Kylee, there are many natural ways to heal to our bodies, but doctors don’t even try them! I don’t think you have to worry too much about dental work– they usually prescribe amoxicillin for that, and it’s pretty safe. Doesn’t hurt to ask anyway. Cipro isn’t the best drug out there for sinus infections, but it’s used for that all the time.

  4. A very interesting article Ruth.
    Michael there is actually a UK facebook page, so it must be used in our country too:

    It has only only 130 likes, I don’t think the dreadful side effects of this drug are very widely known so I’ll be sharing your very informative article.

    • There are many in the UK suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity and also from withdrawal from benzodizepines, which cause similar symptoms. So the same terrible drugs are being prescribed in both countries– in many countries actually. Through floxiehope and other sites I have met people from Ireland, Singapore, Australia– the problem is worldwide. Which leads me to believe that the danger to pets is also worldwide. There is very likely no person on the globe who can say, “I know my cat would never be given Baytril because it’s not used here.” At least in some places declawing is illegal and banned. We have a lot of work to do when it comes to raising awareness of these dangerous medications.

  5. The medicine industry is full of lies, both for humans and animals. Check out medicines on the internet before you give hem to your children or pets!
    Also watch out for sedatives used in hospitals and dentistry , ones with Articaïne (like Ultracaine) can have major heath impact issues, and they are nowadays often used. It takes only 10 minutes to read, better safe than sorry.

    http://bosscherstichting.org/en/information/the-articaine-problem—patients.html

    Finally, in April/May 1995, it became clear that the group of patients that returned with serious complaints had been treated with the anesthetics, Ultracain™, Septanest™, etc. During follow up research, it appeared that patients treated with Xylocaine™, Citanest™ of Scandonest™ had no problems resulting from their treatment, had subsequently experienced no health problems and recovered better than those treated with Articaine™.

    The health problems experienced by patients treated with Articaine™ seemed to fall into two categories:

    Neurological problems, disorders of the (central) nervous system. These disorders exhibited themselves as Parkinson’s (tremors), ME-type complaints, ALS and MS. Also included in this category are patients with muscle failure and long-term tingling in the fingers and toes.

    Carcinogenic problems, cancer symptoms. Mainly cases of breast, prostrate and kidney cancer were detected. Some forms of breast cancer appeared, strikingly enough, 5 to 7 months after dental treatment, whereby women not only noticed that lumps appeared overnight, but that they then grew very fast. This form of breast cancer often seemed to be highly resistant to therapy.

    The root cause of both these problems lies, in our opinion, in the use of articaine with patients with butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) deficiency. The warning given with Ultracain™ in the information leaflet is very clear. It reads as follows:

    “Ultracain may not be administered to patients with cholinesterase deficiency, unless there are strict indications for its use. This is due to a possible prolonged working effect of Ultracain in these patients and in some cases extremely strong effects”.

    MORE on the website

    • Thanks. Sometimes when we go to hospital they cure us and improve our health. Sometimes they damage us and sometimes they kill us. Hospitals are potentially dangerous places as far as I am concerned.

    • Sounds a lot like the problems with fluoroquinolones. There are so many risks, and so many patients who simply should not be given them, and yet doctors over prescribe. Articaine sounds particularly horrible considering it can cause hard to treat cancer and diseases like ALS. There are so often safer alternatives that are not used. It’s like killing a fly with an atomic bomb and doctors do it all the time, then act like you are crazy when you say that you had a bad reaction to the medication.

  6. I so appreciate knowing this. My cat, Mitzy, was given Baytril a few months ago, when I brought her in for constipation issues. The vet said “She MIGHT have a bladder infection.” No testing was done prior to giving Baytril. I wasn’t able to give her the pills, so I brought her back to the vet, who said “We’re going to keep her for a week to make sure she gets the medicine.”
    I was also advised that they might KEEP her as an office cat, or take her to the shelter! This is true!

    Since I couldn’t give her the meds, I agreed to leave her. I visited with her once, since even with an appointment, they made me wait an hour to see her. I felt helpless in this situation.

    When the week was up, I came to get her, and they said “she’s fine, and eating RC High Response Dry food and Hill’s WD canned, and she really likes them.” They shoved a huge bag of the RC at me, along with several cans of the Hill’s. I told them that I’d weaned her from dry food, and didn’t want it, but they refused to listen, and actually carried it out to my car!

    I looked closely at the ingredients (online, to be able to SEE them) and discovered that these “prescription”
    foods are real crap, and worse than some of the low end cat foods on the market.

    I brought it back the following week, and changed vets.
    The clinic I chose, has about a dozen vets, and also a holistic vet who does acupuncture and bio-resonance, which I couldn’t afford.

    One of the vets feeds her cat raw, which seemed promising. She recommended chia seed for constipation, but also told me to give Lactulose 3 times a day, which I refused to do. I didn’t want Mitzy dependent on a stool softener.

    Mitzy’s health issues put me on a path of no return, while I researched hours each day with regards to pet food, constipation issues, and medicines.

    Mitzy had 2 severe reactions to medicines given at the second vets. One was to Tresaderm, then to Dexdomitor/Antisedan. Also, a milder reaction to Cerenia injection. These were given initially to clean the ear, then to put her under to go deeper. She ended up with one pupil smaller than the other, dizziness, and falling over. When I called, they said to bring her right in, and to stop the Tresaderm. Then they put her under with Dexdomitor/Antisedan, which she also reacted to. As I watched her behavior change, I became concerned that I’d have to put her down. I could no longer trust any vet.

    It was 2 months before she recovered enough that I could say “she’s back to normal”. During that time, I was a wreck, not knowing where to turn, other than sharing my experience with friends, and continuing my research.

    I kept notes on my calendar about her habits: eating, eliminating, sleeping, and any unusual behaviors. Now that she’s better, I continue noting these things on the calendar. I would recommend this to anyone who’s able to do this, especially if your cat is showing signs of illness or any kind of unusual behavior/habits.

    If your cat gets sick, it gives you a way to trace back what they ate, how their poop looked, if sleeping habits changed. Yes, I note specifically what she eats or doesn’t eat, and how her poop looks. Her food preferences change, so I can’t count on her to “like” a specific food. So, I don’t buy large quantities of one thing. And I believe that rotation can prevent allergic reactions.

    I’m looking into writing for a new cat blog, and getting paid for my posts! Writing and cats are my passion, so it would be great to combine them to make a little extra cash, but mostly to share what I’ve learned here, and in my extensive, continuing research.
    I might even set aside this money to donate to cat causes. I wish that Michael was an “affiliate” so he could make money on the various things that we buy online. I’d love for him to be able to financially benefit in a way that he could donate even more than he does now. Are any of you affiliates for pet products?
    If so, I’d rather support you through my purchases.

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