The in vitro activities of several cephalosporins and quinolones against 195 strains of Escherichia coli isolated from diary calves affected by neonatal diarrhea were determined. One hundred thirty-seven of these strains produced one or more potential virulence factors (F5, F41, F17, cytotoxic necrotizing factor, verotoxin, and the eae gene), but the remaining 58 strains did not produce any of these factors. From 11 to 18% of the E. coli strains were resistant to cephalothin, nalidixic acid, enoxacin, and enrofloxacin. However, cefuroxime, cefotaxime, and cefquinome were highly effective against the E. coli isolates tested. Some significant differences (P < 0.05) in resistance to quinolones between the strains producing potential virulence factors and nonfimbriated, nontoxigenic, eae-negative strains were found. Thus, eae-positive, necrotoxigenic, and verotoxigenic (except for nalidixic acid) E. coli strains were significantly more sensitive to nalidixic acid, enoxacin, and enrofloxacin than nonfimbriated, nontoxigenic, eae-negative strains. Moreover, eae-positive strains were significantly more sensitive to enoxacin and enrofloxacin than F5-positive strains. Thus, the result of this study suggest that the bovine E. coli strains that produce some potential virulence factors are more sensitive to quinolones than those that do not express these factors.