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Enrofloxacin is an fluoroquinolone antibiotic, sold under the brand name Baytril, that is used in animals, including dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, and pigs.[1] According to Bayer, the maker of Baytril:[2] "Enrofloxacin, which was first synthesized by Bayer researchers Grohe and Peterson in 1980, has been developed exclusively for use in veterinary medicine. Introduced to the market in 1988, it has become the most important quinolone for the therapy of bacterial infections in dogs and cats worldwide."

Use In Cattle

In cattle, enrofloxacin is used to treat Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD). In the United States, its use is prohibited in dairy cattle, with the exception of heifers under the age of 20 months.[3]

Use In Poultry

Previously, enrofloxacine was used in poultry for treating bacterial infections. In October 2000, the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine asked Baytril maker Bayer to voluntarily withdraw the product for chickens and turkeys because of a rise in fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter jejuni infections in people.[4] The legal process played out until July 27, 2005, when the FDA withdrew its approval of enrofloxacin for bacterial infections in poultry, determining that the drug:[5]

  • "caused the development of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter species in poultry,"
  • "that these fluoroquinolone-resistant organisms are transferred to humans and cause the development of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter in humans,"
  • "and fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter infections in humans are a health hazard."

As a Pollutant

Because humans and animals often do not fully metabolize pharmaceuticals in their body, they can excrete drugs or their breakdown products, which may the enter the environment.[6]

In Sewage Sludge

Enrofloxacin has been found in sewage sludge. In the Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey, a 2009 test of 84 samples of sewage sludge from around the U.S., the EPA found enrofloxacin in 14 samples (17%) in concentrations ranging from 12.1 to 66 parts per billion.[7] There are no federal regulations governing how much of this drug may be present in sewage sludge applied to land as fertilizer.

In Drinking Water

An Associated Press investigation found that, of 62 metropolitan areas in the U.S., only 28 tested for pharmaceuticals, and 24 found pharmaceuticals in the drinking water when they tested it.[8] Of those tested, Philadelphia tested positive for enrofloxacin (as well as 55 other drugs).[9]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Baytril.com, Accessed September 21, 2010.
  2. History, Baytril.com, Accessed September 21, 2010.
  3. FDA Approval For The Use Of Baytril® 100 (Enrofloxacin) Injectable Solution For The Treatment of Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) In Dairy Replacement Heifers Less Than Twenty (20) Months Of Age, FDA, March 28, 2008.
  4. FDA stops use of enrofloxacin for bacterial infections in poultry, American Veterinary Medicine Association, September 1, 2005, Accessed September 21, 2010.
  5. Withdrawal of Approval of Bayer Corporation’s New Animal Drug Application (NADA) 140-828 (Baytril) Docket No. 2000N-1571, FDA, Accessed September 21, 2010.
  6. O.A.H. Jones, N. Voulvoulis, and J.N. Lester, Human Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater Treatment Processes, Environmental Science and Technology, 2005.
  7. Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Report, US EPA website, Accessed August 28, 2010.
  8. AN AP INVESTIGATION : Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water, Associated Press, Accessed September 3, 2010.
  9. Pharmawater-Metros-By-Results, Associated Press, Accessed September 3, 2010.

External resources

External articles