Antibodies with a wide recognition profile of fluoroquinolone antibiotics have been produced based on chemical criteria, theoretical studies, and molecular modeling assisted hapten design. The immunizing hapten preserves the most important and characteristic epitopes of this antibiotic family. The studies have taken into consideration the zwitterionic character of most of the fluoroquinolones and the relative concentration of the different species in equilibrium at physiologic pH. The hapten is prepared in the form of a stable prehapten through a 5 step synthetic pathway. Immediately before conjugation, the immunizing hapten is obtained by removing the diphenylmethane protecting group. The specificity of the antibodies obtained is directed toward the common area defined by the fluorine atom at position 6 and the β-ketoacid moiety. The ELISA developed is able to recognize with very good detectability important fluoroquinolones used in the veterinary field such as ciprofloxacin (CPFX, IC(50), 0.35 μg L(-1)), enrofloxacin (ERFX, IC(50), 0.65 μg L(-1)), danofloxacin (DNFX, IC(50), 7.31 μg L(-1)), difloxacin (DFX, IC(50), 0.91 μg L(-1)), sarafloxacin (SRFX, IC(50), 0.96 μg L(-1)), norfloxacin (NRFX, IC(50), 0.78 μg L(-1)), ofloxacin (OFX, IC(50), 1.84 μg L(-1)), flumequine (Flume, IC(50), 3.91 μ gL(-1)), marbofloxacin (MBFX, IC(50), 4.30 μ gL(-1)), and oxolinic acid (OXO, IC(50), 23.53 μg L(-1)). The results presented here demonstrate that the antibody affinity is strongly affected by the presence of divalent cations, owing to their complexation with the fluoroquinolone molecules. Moreover, the outcome from the effect of the pH on the immunochemical assays suggests that the selectivity could be modulated with the pH due to the zwitterionic character of the fluoroquinolones and as a function of their different pK(a) values.