By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is orbifloxacin?

Orbifloxacin (brand names: Orbax®) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic used to treat certain skin, soft tissue (such as kidney and prostate), respiratory, and urinary tract bacterial infections in pet animals only; it is not used in farmed animals.

While use in dogs and cats is FDA approved, its use in horses, birds, and rabbits to treat certain bacterial infections is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.

How is orbifloxacin given?

Orbifloxacin is given by mouth in the form of a tablet or liquid. Measure the liquid form carefully and shake well before dosing. It is best given without food, but if vomiting occurs when dosed on an empty stomach, give future doses with a small amount of food. Do not give with dairy products or anything containing calcium, iron, or aluminum. Do not give to growing pets. Do not allow humans to take this medication. Avoid skin and eye contact; wash hands immediately after dosing.

This medication should take effect quickly within 1 to 2 hours, and while effects may not be noted outwardly, gradual improvements are usually appreciable after a few days.

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?

The most common side effects are vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. More serious side effects include cartilage abnormalities (that may cause walking difficulties), prolonged lack of appetite, incoordination, seizures, excitability, fever, skin rashes, or trouble breathing. At higher doses, there is concern for blindness and eye damage in cats.

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?

Do not use orbifloxacin in pets that are allergic to it or other quinolones. Do not use in small and medium breed dogs before 8 months of age, in large breed dogs before 12 months of age, in giant breed dogs before 18 months of age, or in cats before 12 months of age. Do not use this medication in conjunction with cyclosporine. Use orbifloxacin cautiously in pets with seizures, liver or kidney problems, or in pets that are dehydrated. Use orbifloxacin with caution in pregnant or lactating animals, as safe use in animals has not been established.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

The following medications should be used with caution when given with orbifloxacin: antacids, dairy products, other antibiotics, cyclosporine, flunixin, glyburide, iron, zinc, methotrexate, nitrofurantoin, phenytoin, probenecid, sucralfate, theophylline, or warfarin.

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. Monitor your pet at home for serious side effects.

How do I store orbifloxacin?

Store the tablets in the refrigerator or at room temperature, between 36°F and 86°F (2°C and 30°C), protected from moisture. Store the liquid suspension upright in the container, between 36°F and 77°F (2°C and 25°C).

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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