Levaquin for Dogs

Levaquin is an antibiotic used occasionally in dogs. The medication is one of the class of Fluoroquinolone drugs that work by killing the bacteria cells. It's commonly used in lung (kennel cough), sinus, skin and UTI infections. It's designed for human use, but veterinarians will prescribe it for dogs in certain situations.

Before giving your dog Levofloxacin discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this medication. Make sure you include a discussion on all  possible alternatives to this antibiotic medication. Fluoroquinolones have serious side effects known to cause debilitating injury.

Reasons Why Veterinarians May Recommend Fluoroquinolones Drugs

Fluoroquinolones work by preventing DNA within the bacteria from dividing and regrouping. This prevents their reproductive cycle causing the bacterial cells to die. They work quickly making them popular choices for severe bacterial infections.

Levofloxacin is effective, but its side effects make it an unpopular choice. Usually, Fluoroquinolones are only prescribed with infections that are highly resistant to safer antibiotics. It's particularly useful in fighting serious cases of kennel cough where the dog is not recovering

Common Side Effects of Levaquin

Levofloxacin is known to cause a number of reactions in humans. Many of these also occur in dogs. If you have any concerns about your pet's behavior while taking Levaquin, contact your vet.

Liver damage is a potential risk. Watch for:

  • very dark urine
  • lethargy
  • jaundice 
  • pale bowel movements

If your dog shows these symptoms, call your veterinary office.

The most common side effect of Levaquin is tendon rupture and joint deterioration. The risk increases in patients taking corticosteroids. The medication causes lesions on the dog's cartilage in major joints. The swelling and rupture of the tendon may occur suddenly while on the medication or occur months later. This is why veterinarians only recommend Levaquin as a last result. If your dog shows any signs of lameness, it's critical to seek veterinary care.

Antibiotic use may cause intestinal issues in dogs. Watch for diarrhea, bloody stool and abdominal pain. If your dog shows any of these signs, contact your veterinarian.

Levaquin may cause blood sugar imbalances in your dog. If your dog has diabetes, carefully monitor blood sugar levels while the medication is being used. If you notice any sudden increase or decrease in glucose levels, stop giving your dog the medication and contact your veterinary office.

Many antibiotics, including Levofloxacin, increase the risk of sunburn. While your dog is taking this medication, limit time outside, especially on sunny days.

Safer Dosages for Fluoroquinolones Drugs

A study was performed by the Drug Safety Research Center in Tokushima, Japan. In this study, 100 milligrams of a Fluoroquinolones drug were administered to a trio of male Beagles daily for a full week.

One dog developed blisters on his joints before the week was up. At much lower doses of 10 to 30 milligrams per day, blisters did not form. Keeping the dose as low as possible may be key to preventing joint damage in your pet.

If your dog misses a dose of Levaquin, do not double the next dose. Instead, take the next dose at the scheduled time and skip the missed dose.