Baytril for Rats

baytril for rats

Check out our complete guide to Baytril for rats!

When our pets are sick, it feels like one of the worst things ever. They can’t tell us how they’re feeling, so our mind spins with the possibilities and worries us until we’re as sick as they are.

In this situation, we often leap on the first thing our vets offer, but there can be doubts. When presented with medicine for our animals, we’re often told very little.

It can be hard to be fully confident in the treatment our pets receive when we don’t really know how it works.

Today we’re going to shine a spotlight on one veterinary medicine: Baytril. We’ll look at its uses, and how it can help our pet rats. We’ll also look at the side effects that can come along with it.

So why has my rat been prescribed Baytril? Is it going to harm him?

We’ll look at the answers to these questions and more in today’s article about Baytril for rats.

Baytril for rats

Baytril is a brand name for the drug Enrofloxacin, one of the many antibiotics that vets have at their disposal.

It was originally used in the water supplies of poultry farms. This was a measure to prevent and treat infections.

In 2005, the FDA’s approval to use Baytril in this way was withdrawn.

This wasn’t because it was doing damage to the chickens. It was to try and counter antibiotic resistant microbes.

There was a plentiful supply of antibiotics moving around the population. This made the development of antibiotic resistant microbes much more likely.

Nowadays, Baytril is most commonly used to treat domestic pets. It’s available from pharmacies and online with a vet’s prescription.

Rats are our main focus today. With this being said, the same medication is also used for rabbits and other small furry pets.

Baytril can be administered either as an injection, or in the form of an edible solution or tablet. In rats though, the oral solution is by far the most common form.

Let’s look at how Baytril works.

How does Baytril for rats work?

As we’ve said, Baytril is one member of the family of drugs known as antibiotics, and functions in a very similar way to the others.

Antibiotics in general are one of the great discoveries of modern medicine. We’ve used this branch of medicine to render certain infections easily treatable. Previously some would have been a death sentence.

We can also use them before surgery to prevent infections from arising.

Antibiotics function, in essence, by rendering the body inhospitable to microbes. If given at the right dosage these medicines can poison the bacteria that’s causing an infection.

Through this method, Baytril is frequently used to treat infections, most often respiratory infections in rats.

Most of the time, it’s a second resort after another antibiotic has failed. If your vet suspects Baytril is the most likely drug to succeed, however, they may choose to jump straight to it.

Does Baytril for rats work for every infection?

Baytril can’t treat every infection. Viral infections aren’t touched by antibiotics in general. For treating bacterial infections, though, antibiotics are the best tool we have.

In recent years somewhat of a crisis has emerged. Bacteria takes a long time to gain resistance to different drugs. Despite this, many are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

This is considered a chief medical concern. Some doctors and vets have warned it threatens to take medicine back decades.

Because of this crisis, antibiotics are beginning to become more and more strictly controlled. Baytril is currently available from vets with a prescription, but this may not be the case forever.

It’s already common practice to make sure the infection vets are providing an antibiotic for is fully susceptible to that medication.

So how much Baytril should my rat be taking? Let’s take a look at how much Baytril to give a rat.

Baytril dosage for rats

Dosage is important with any medication. Baytril is no exception.

Too little, and we will fail to treat the infection properly, so it may resurface. This has an a secondary effect of helping to cultivate antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Too much, and we risk making the side effects more pronounced.

Lots of factors can affect the amount of Baytril a rat should receive. Age, weight, and medical history all have a part to play when deciding the dose.

With this being said, there are general guidelines that vets stick to. Let’s take a look at what the standard dose of Baytril is for a rat with an infection.

How much Baytril to give a rat for an infection

For the treatment of an infection, the general guideline for oral suspension Baytril 2.5 dosage for rats is to give 5mg of enrofloxacin for every kg of the rat’s body weight, twice daily, for a week.

As rats rarely even approach weighing a kilogram, your vet will give you advice on how to measure out doses ideal for your rat.

It’s important to point out that your vet may decide on more, or less. This depends on your rat.

Sometimes rats are given Baytril before a surgery, to make infection less likely. This situation will also require a different dose.

With such small animals, a relatively small change in dose will represent a major increase or decrease. As such, vets are incredibly careful when they decide on doses and it’s best left to them.

So what side effects, if any, should we expect when giving our rats Baytril? First, let’s take a look at what side effects are common to all antibiotics, including Baytril.

Antibiotic side effects

Any medication can cause side effects. These are weighed up against the severity of what we’re treating.

It’s important that we know what these side effects are ahead of time. This way we can spot early on if our rat is reacting badly to medication.

The most common side effect of any antibiotic, and most medicines, is an upset stomach.

This might manifest as your rat just not feeling very well, or more obviously as diarrhea. In other animals this could lead to vomiting, but not in rats.

Rats can’t vomit, even if they really want to.

There are multiple explanations of this in the scientific community, with many assuming it could be to do with their anatomy. Exactly why this behavior, which is found in almost all other mammals, is absent in rats, is as yet uncertain.

The fairly obvious side effect of diarrhea is not necessarily cause for concern. Rats are perfectly capable of handling a minor upset stomach.

If, however, the diarrhea continues for too long, your rat can become dehydrated. If this symptom persists, it’s best to get in touch with your vet.

So, what side effects is Baytril for rats specifically more likely to have?

baytril for rats

Baytril for rats side effects

A side effect slightly more unique to Baytril is arthropathy. This word refers to general diseases of the joint.

While unlikely to be fatal, this side effect can be concerning. Joint issues can cause long term chronic pain.

It’s worth pointing out that this side effect, while possible, is considered quite rare.

Baytril can also affect the functioning liver in the long term. One study looked into how this effect might be countered with antioxidants.

When we look at the side effects of any medicine, we need to understand what we’re treating.

Antibiotics are used to treat and prevent the type of infections which, without their help, would carry a much higher mortality rate. They are sometimes risky, but never more risky than leaving a possibly fatal infection intact.

It’s also worth pointing out that every rat will react differently. Two rats may experience different side effects, and it’s always worth keeping an eye out for changes in behavior whenever you give your rat medicine.

Are there any rats who should never take Baytril?

Rats who should not take Baytril

Certain rats will always be more sensitive to medications than others.

Rats suffering from kidney and liver issues are usually excluded from treatment with Baytril.

Epilepsy does not mix well with Baytril because this drug can stimulate the nervous system. This wouldn’t be a problem in a healthy rat, but could lead to a potentially fatal seizure in one with epilepsy.

Baytril cannot be used safely with some other medications. Quite a few antibiotics are included in this list.

If you are giving your rat any medicine that your vet doesn’t know about, you should tell them about it. Even fairly common treatments can sometimes interact with disastrous results.

Nowadays we’re presented with a myriad of choices when buying pet medicine. So where should I go to get hold of Baytril for my rat?

Where can I buy Baytril for rats

As with any medicine, the best place to buy Baytril is directly from the vet that gave you your prescription. This allows them to have complete control over dosage.

It is possible to buy this online, but only do this from a supplier suggested to you by your vet.

Otherwise, it’s entirely possible that you may get the wrong medicine for your furry friend. There are many different dosages, and methods of administration, so it’s best to follow your vets’ advice.

Baytril for rats

Whether you’re preventing an infection or treating one, antibiotics are a useful tool in the fight against microbes.

In human medicine these drugs have made previously fatal conditions treatable, and they have the potential to do the same for our pets.

Side effects can be scary, considering how much we value our furry friends. With this being said, antibiotics are the lesser of two evils.

Infections are much more dangerous. We put our pet rats at more risk by failing to treat life threatening conditions.

It’s important to point out that Baytril is usually the second choice for vets. Your rat’s infection might be resistant to other antibiotics. In this circumstance it’s essential to act quickly and find something that will work.

Whenever our vet prescribes a course of Baytril, we must take care to follow it precisely. Improperly following the course has disastrous potential.

This is true for pets and humans in general, but especially rats!  A relatively small amount of extra medicine could be double the dose.

It’s not clear how much longer we’ll be able to use antibiotics for our pets. It does seem likely that at some point they’ll no longer be as effective.

Because of this, we need to take advantage of this treatment while it’s still available. By using Baytril responsibly, we can fight against infections and minimize the amount of resistant bacteria that will crop up.

Have you used Baytril for your rat? If so, let us know how that went in the comments below.

References and Further Reading

Pubchem, Enrofloxacin.

Amal, A. A. et al (2011). The protective effect of green tea extract against enrofloxacin action on the rat liver; histological, histochemical and ultrastructural studies. Journal of American Science, 7.

Booth, D. M. et al, Requirements for successful antimicrobial treatment. MSD Veterinary Manual.

Horn, C. C. et al (2013). Why can’t rodents vomit? A comparative behavioral, anatomical, and physiological study. Plos One, 8.

Mitchell, M. A. (2006). Enrofloxacin, Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, 15.

U. S. Food and Drug Administration (2017). Withdrawal of enrofloxacin for poultry.

NOAH, Baytril 2.5% oral solution.

Hwang, Y. H. et al (2009). Altered pharmacokinetics of enrofloxacin in experimental models of hepatic and renal impairment. Veterinary Research Communications, 33.

Goodman, G. (2004). Infectious respiratory disease in rodents. In Practice.


  1. I know people say rats can’t vomit, but I had a rat that vomited. She vomited about 1- 2 times a month. Usually when she went on car trips or bike rides with me, when we would stop to rest, she’d vomit. It was vomit, looked like it, smelled like it and it was the food she would eat in the morning. She didn’t eat during the trips, but rather hours before the trips. I know that seems impossible, but I think she was really vomiting.


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