Fluoroquinolone antibiotics for cats can cause nerve damage. This is why there are reports of retina damage in cats who have been given this antibiotic1 (light falling on the retina triggers nerve impulses). Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are a group of antibiotics, the most common of which are nrofloxacin (Baytril®), ciprofloxacin (“cipro”), orbifloxacin (Orbax®), and marbofloxacin (Zeniquin®). But on the 1800petmeds.com website the possible side effects of Baytril don’t refer to nerve damage. Surprised?
This post is a follow up to Ruth’s post about her personal experiences. Ruth says that this class of antibiotics can cause “lameness in puppies”. If the lameness is caused by nerve damage what about the pain? Ruth also refers to “a cat named Shadow…Shadow was blinded after being given Baytril.” This is nerve damage.
Eric Barchas, D.V.M, a San Francisco veterinarian states on his website:
“In very rare instances, cats receiving high doses of Baytril® have developed severe, irreversible vision problems.”
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are taken by humans and pets. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) is used on pets and people for instance.
The FDA state this on their website in reference to the drug being used on people:
“the serious side effect of peripheral neuropathy. This serious nerve damage potentially caused by fluoroquinolones (see Table for a list) may occur soon after these drugs are taken and may be permanent.”
“Peripheral neuropathy” means nerve damage to the nerves of the body other than the brain and spinal cord. The end result is all kinds of problems including tingling sensations in the hand or feet, numbness, a lot of pain and weakness because the nerves control the muscles and without nervous impulses the muscles don’t work. This causes the cat or person to be an invalid. An affected leg becomes almost useless.
The addition of a fluoride molecule allows the drug to permeate the blood-brain barrier making it a potential neurotoxin2.
Nerve damage is horrendous. It is extremely painful and extremely debilitating. The sufferer feels tingling and high levels of pain – permanently. It is very hard to cure nerve damage (if ever). The body has to repair itself. Specialist painkillers are required for people. How do I know? I know someone who suffered and continues to suffer from nerve damage to the left leg. The person was in agony for 6 months and even today takes strong drugs to combat pain. If the drugs are stopped the pain restarts immediately.
Although the risk of nerve damage from fluoroquinolone antibiotics is probably very low, the damage is very high and therefore common sense says that they should not be given to your beloved cat. I would ask your vet before accepting a prescription for this class of antibiotics.
An important note is that cats won’t complain about pain. If this class of antiobiotics can cause gradual blindness by damaging the nerves of the eye what sort of pain is the cat going through at the same time? Think on….
- AVMA – I was unable to read the entire article because you have to pay for it but it is headed: “Fluoroquinolone-induced retinal degeneration in cats”.