The fluoroquinolones are a group of antibiotics with considerable application for use in veterinary dermatology. They are rapidly bactericidal against a wide variety of clinically important organisms including Staphylococcus intermedius and gram-negative enteric bacilli by virtue of interference with the supercoiling of bacterial chromosomal material. Their favourable pharmacokinetic features make them applicable in many animal species, and in a range of dose formulations. The only major clinical contraindication is that fluoroquinolones should not be given to young, rapidly growing dogs as they can induce a noninflammatory, erosive arthropathy. For many years the only veterinary-labelled fluoroquinolone available was enrofloxacin. The selection of a fluoroquinolone has become more complex now that there are more choices available. Orbifloxacin, difloxacin and marbofloxacin now join enrofloxacin on the veterinary market, although not all of these are licensed in every country. The use of fluoroquinolones in dermatology remains controversial. The authors recommend that fluoroquinolones be considered in circumstances where canine pyoderma has been refractory to appropriate ‘first line’ antibiotics. They are most useful in the management of recurrent pyoderma and in chronic, deep pyoderma with extensive scar tissue. In addition, fluouroquinolones frequently are the drugs of choice for canine ear infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.