I just want to spread the word about these sorts of problems. If you click on the link at the top of the page you can read some detail about this particular medicine.
In brief, this class of antibiotics can, rarely, produces side-effect which are so devastating that the risk of using it outweighs its benefits unless there is a really serious reason for prescribing this drug.
It can cause degenerative retinal problems in cats and in people I have discovered that it can cause peripheral nerve damage. On my reading of this they are one and the same problem in essence because the retina collects light via the lens and converts that light to nerve impulses which are sent to the brain. It would seem that fluoroquinolone antibiotics can cause nerve damage in the nerves that lead away from the retina. If I'm incorrect please tell me.
There are of course other side-effects from this class of antibiotics which are relatively minor by comparison such as vomiting. Even if the potential for nerve damage is very rare in cats, from my perspective, these antibiotics should not be used unless the cat owner finds him or herself in a desperate situation where all else has failed.
The names of the antibiotics that I'm talking about are: nrofloxacin (Baytril®), ciprofloxacin (“cipro”), orbifloxacin (Orbax®), and marbofloxacin (Zeniquin®). I think you'll find some of these names relate to antibiotics are people but certainly cipro and Baytril on drugs prescribed for pets.
The FDA has issued a warning on their website about these drugs with respect to possible nerve damage.
I know someone who suffered from nerve damage in the left leg. The damage was not due to a drug but to an injury. The person concerned suffered an extraordinary amount of pain and the leg was all but useless. There is no cure for nerve damage. The body has to cure itself. It may be permanent. Medication can assist that and specialist painkillers can kill some of the discomfort such as tingling and excruciating pain. There is also numbness and of course the leg cannot work properly because the nervous system sends signals to the muscles and if the nervous system is not working properly neither are the muscles.
We know that cats don't show pain. We know that is difficult to tell whether a cat is in pain. One thing you won't read about is whether these drugs can cause a cat pain when they cause nerve damage. Even the warnings only refer to potential nerve damage. That is not enough because the kind of pain and discomfort were talking about is an enormous and it has an incredibly debilitating effect on the sufferer's life.
If my cat had to be given antibiotics I'd make sure that he wasn't given these sort of antibiotics unless there was some pressing reason for it.