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SEF-ti-o-fur - Pronunciation guide

Brand Names

  • Ceftiflex
  • Excede Sterile Suspension for Horses
  • Naxcel


Rx symbolCeftiofur is a newer drug in the class of cephalosporin antibiotics that kill bacteria by disrupting construction of the bacterial cell wall. It is effective against many different bacteria, including Streptococcus zooepidemicus and Strep Equi, which cause major respiratory problems.


Ceftiofur is used primarily for treatment of respiratory diseases, but may also be used whenever a broad-spectrum antibiotic is desired. It is also prescribed in the treatment of Lyme disease and strangles.

Dosage and Administration

Prescription medicationCetiofur
Method Dosage
(click row for calculator)
Concentration Period Duration
Intramuscular injection1 1-2 mg/lb 50 mg/ml 2 Daily Up to 10 days3


  • Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian..
  • 1A maximum of 10 ml may be administered per injection site.
  • 2After reconstitution of the sterile powder. 1 gram vial: reconstitute with 20 ml sterile water for injection. 4 gram vial: reconstitute with 80 ml sterile water for injection. Shake thoroughly prior to use.
  • 3Continue 48 hours after clinical signs have disappeared.
  • Calculator is for educational purposes only. Follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding use of this, or any medication.

Side Effects

Drug side effects are rare at recommended doses. Pain and swelling at the injection site are sometimes noted, but hot compresses and NSAIDs usually relieve any discomfort.

Diarrhea has been reported with ceftiofur use, but appears to be either dose-related or related to certain populations of young horses.

High doses of ceftiofur given during safety studies caused diarrhea, colic, and loss of appetite.


Ceftiofur is not for human use and exposure to this drug should be avoided by people who are allergic or sensitive to penicillin and cephalosporins.

Antibiotic-induced diarrhea can be very serious and life-threatening. If diarrhea occurs while a horse is on ceftiofur, the drug should be discontinued immediately and aggressive supportive therapy for diarrhea may be necessary.

Ceftiofur is FDA-approved and U.S. federal law restricts this drug to use by or on lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian.

Ceftiofur is forbidden in drug-free competitions. Check with the individual regulatory organization for rules relating to therapeutic use of this drug.


The use of cephalosporins is not recommended with bacteriostatic antibiotics, such as chloramphenicol, which merely prevent or slow bacterial growth, but don't kill the bacteria.


High doses or overdoses of ceftiofur during safety studies caused diarrhea, colic, and loss of appetite.


Ceftiflex Injectable Ceftiflex Injectable

Naxel InjectableNaxel Injectable




About the Author

EquiMed Staff

EquiMed staff writers team up to provide articles that require periodic updates based on evolving methods of equine healthcare. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional.