By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is difloxacin?

Difloxacin (brand names: Dicural®) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic used to treat certain bacterial infections, particularly skin infections, wounds, and pneumonia.

Its use in dogs at labeled doses is FDA-apporved.

How is difloxacin given?

Difloxacin is given by mouth in the form of a tablet. Give without food on an empty stomach; however, if vomiting occurs when dosed on an empty stomach, give future doses with a meal or a treat. It may also be available as an injection given in the hospital setting.

Do not give this drug with other vitamins or medications that contain iron, aluminum, calcium, magnesium, and/or zinc.

This medication will take effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, but noticeable effects may take a few days to be recognized.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember, but if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects?

Side effects are uncommon but may include nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and diarrhea, especially at higher doses. Serious side effects may include depression, incoordination, twitching, seizures, facial swelling, and/or weight loss.

This short-acting medication should stop working within 24 hours, although effects can be longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Difloxacin should not be used in pets that are allergic to it or in young animals. It should not be used in dogs younger than 8 months of age for small and medium breeds, younger than 1 year of age for large breeds, and younger than 18 months of age for giant breeds. It should be used cautiously in pets with kidney disease or seizures.

Difloxacin should not be used not use in cats, as safe use has not been established.

Use cautiously in pregnant or lactating animals as safe use has not been determined.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

The following medications should be used with caution when given with difloxacin: theophylline, products containing aluminum (sucralfate), iron, zinc, magnesium, or calcium (antacids, dairy products).

Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this medication?

There is no specific monitoring that needs to be done while your pet is taking this medication. Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working.

How do I store difloxacin?

Store at room temperature between 59°F and 77°F (15°C and 25°C) and protect from light and moisture.

What should I do in case of emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

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