Treating Cat Cough with Baytril

Veterinarians commonly prescribe Baytril for cats with a cough. It is an FDA-approved medicine for use in cats, though should only be used for coughing from specific causes such as an upper respiratory infection. Baytril (generic name enrofloxacin) may not have an effect on non-bacterial related coughs.

Why Do Cats Cough?

Cats cough for a lot of reasons, some serious and some not. Sometimes the cough is as simple as having eaten too fast, or it results from a hairball. These types of coughs will disappear on their own and medical care is generally not needed unless your cat is choking. However, feline coughs can also be very serious, and sometimes it is the first sign of heart or lung disease. This is rare, and many times, a cough is the result of an upper respiratory infection, such as pneumonia. In this instance, antibiotic medication like Baytril is required to treat the cough. Only your vet can tell, by thoroughly examining your cat for all possible causes.

How Baytril Helps a Cough

If your cat's cough is the result of an upper respiratory infection, Baytril may be able to help. It is an antibiotic that is also often used in ear infections and infections of the urinary tract, prostate, GI tract, liver, lungs and skin. It does require a prescription.

Baytril treats bacterial infections by attacking the DNA structure of the bacteria, and making it unable to reproduce and multiply, and killing the bacteria in the process. Though this method would make it seem as if Baytril might also attack the cat's cells, bacteria and mammals use different enzymes to unwind their DNA, thus making Baytril safe for use on cats, and leaving their own cells untouched. When the infection is gone, the coughing is gone as well.

Side Effects & Cat Allergy

Baytril does have side effects, and it is important to recognize them if they occur in your cat. Allergic reactions also frequently occur, so doing an allergy test before giving your cat the medication is wise. An allergic reaction frequently involves swelling of the tongue or throat, and nausea or even vomiting.

Common side effects reported include:

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness

These are not serious side effects, so if they occur, continue administering Baytril, but tell your vet. As each cat may react differently to the medication, you should also tell your vet about any unusual behavior or reactions that may occur.

Other Considerations

Be sure never to give Baytril within two hours of administering an antacid or sucralfates, as the two may react with each other causing harmful effects. The same warning is commended for most vitamin and mineral products. Giving Baytril with cyclosporine may cause kidney damage. Baytril should not be given to pregnant or nursing animals.

Baytril is a common treatment for cat coughs due to upper respiratory infections or other bacterial infections of the lungs. As it is an antibiotic, it should not be used in cases where the coughing is not the result of an infection.