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Ciprofloxacin (brand name Cipro) is an antibiotic used in both human and veterinary medicine to treat bacterial infections. These antibiotics are in the fluoroquinolone class, meaning they function by eliminating or stopping the replication of bacteria in the body. Often, ciprofloxacin is used for dogs as a substitute for Baytril, an antibiotic known to cause allergic reactions in some dogs.

Dosage

A typical dosage of ciprofloxacin for dogs is between 5 mg and 15 mg per kg; the exact amount depends on the canine’s size and medical condition. This medication is usually administered twice a day by mouth, though it does come in an injectable form. 

Efficacy

Vets often choose ciprofloxacin for dogs because it can neutralize many strains of bacteria. It’s especially effective against the strains responsible for urinary tract and skin infections. Most dogs show improvement within 2 days of beginning treatment.

Taking this medication on a full stomach decreases its effectiveness. If your dog becomes nauseous when taking Cipro on an empty stomach, try giving them a small portion of food and water with the meds to settle their stomach. 

Dairy products, calcium supplements, and products containing iron and aluminum can block the absorption of this drug, so avoid giving these to your dog during treatment.

Side effects

The side effects of Cipro are very typical of antibiotics. The following side effects are the most common: 

  • Lack of appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Loose stools

  • Inflammation of the esophagus 

  • Agitation

  • Nervousness

  • Restlessness

  • Murky urine

  • Allergic reaction

  • Cartilage deformities in young puppies 

  • Cataracts 

  • Seizures

Considerations

Due to its broad-spectrum effects, this medication should be used sparingly rather than long-term since ciprofloxacin may cause bacteria in the body to mutate into an antibiotic-resistant strain.

Ciprofloxacin isn’t recommended for puppies or adolescent canines since it can interrupt the formation of cartilage. Dogs with advanced-stage kidney or liver disease or those with epilepsy should be closely monitored when taking this medication.

In rare cases, Cipro can trigger seizures. Use caution when administering this drug to dogs with a history of epilepsy. Discuss your pet’s history with their vet and weigh the benefits and risks of using this medication.

Drug interactions

Ciprofloxacin can cause adverse reactions or become less effective when combined with the following medications and dietary supplements:

  • Steroids

  • Magnesium, aluminum, iron, zinc, or calcium supplements 

  • Heartburn medications

  • Thyroid medications

  • Blood thinners

  • Fentanyl

  • Theophylline

  • NSAIDs like Rimadyl

  • Vasodilators 

  • Sucralfate 

  • Immunosuppressants 

  • Insulin

  • Oral medications for diabetes

  • Uricosuric agents

  • Macrobid 

Tell your doctor about any medications or vitamins you give your dog before starting them on a new prescription. 

Allergic reactions and sensitivity

Inform your vet if your dog has a sensitivity to quinolone antibiotics; Cipro falls into this category and may cause your dog to have an allergic reaction.

Contact a vet immediately if your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling of the face or mouth

  • Trouble breathing

  • Convulsions

  • Collapse

  • Change in heart rhythm

  • Hives

  • Seizures

  • Hot spots on the skin

Frequently asked questions

Should I stop giving ciprofloxacin for dogs when they show signs of improvement?

Cipro is fast-acting but has a very short half-life for an antibiotic. Cipro takes effect within 1 to 2 hours and is entirely excreted from the body in 24 hours. Since the body metabolizes this medication so quickly, it’s important not to miss a dose — failure to complete the full course of antibiotics can cause the infection to come back in full force. 

Can I buy Cipro over-the-counter?

No, your pet must have a prescription from their vet to obtain this medication. 

Should I double up my dog’s dose if I forget to give it to them? 

No. If you forget to give your dog a dose, give them their usual dosage the next time it’s due. 

Where should I store this medication?

Keep this medication in the dark area and out of your pet’s reach. Cipro needs to be kept below 86 F and away from sunlight. 

What should I do if my pet takes more than they’re prescribed?

Contact your vet immediately if you think your dog has ingested too much Cipro. Serious side effects may occur.

Signs your pet may have overdosed on Cipro:

  • Missing medication

  • Excessive salivation

  • Lack of appetite

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Loose stools 

  • Change in appearance of the teeth

  • Inappropriate drinking or urinating

  • Lesions

  • Shakiness

  • Change in behavior


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Ciprofloxacin Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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