Many cats, particularly older cats, are on some form of medication. We as pet owners tend to trust our veterinarian’s judgment on prescriptions. However, there are many benefits to doing your own medical research on your pet. The more you know about your pet’s medications, the more likely you are to identify benefits and side effects. Prednisone, one of the most common corticosteroids prescribed to cats, has its fair share of both.
What is Prednisone?
Prednisone and prednisolone are corticosteroids used to treat conditions across many species. Unlike anabolic steroids which enhance performance, catabolic steroids break down stored resources. As an anti-inflammatory drug, prednisone is used for immune support. Typically, the drug is used as a short-term treatment, but it may be used for long-term therapy in more extreme cases such as cancer.
Prednisone and prednisolone are different drugs, but prednisone converts to prednisolone in the liver. If you know your pet has liver problems, express this concern to your vet. They will be more likely to prescribe the already converted prednisolone.
Because prednisone is a very powerful drug, it can also have powerful side effects to the adult feline. These are most common in cases where prednisone is prescribed as a long-term therapy. If your cat is on prednisone, keep an eye out for any changes in their behavior or mood. Check to make sure their coat and skin look normal, and always listen to your cat’s breathing while on prednisone.
Separately, and often more seriously, your cat may experience digestive changes while on prednisone. Increased appetite while on the drug may lead to obesity or even diabetes mellitus. Increased thirst can cause excessive urination, which in turn may become a urinary tract infection. Keep an eye out for any abnormal diarrhea or vomiting.
If your pet shows any severe side effects, contact your vet. They may have you stop administering the drug. Thankfully, prednisone typically stops working after 24 hours of non-use.
Listen to Your Vet
Like with any other medication, it is important to listen to your vet’s instructions. Always administer the prescribed dosage, and never double or overdose. Remember that pets may need to be weaned off of prednisone, especially after long-term usage. If you ever have questions, your vet is there to answer them.
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