Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treatment With Budesonide

Budesonide is a corticosteroid that's used to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in cats. Corticosteroids are useful for small and large intestine disease. Before using budesonide in the treatment of IBD, it's necessary to understand bowel disease in cats.

IBD in cats occurs due to an accumulation of inflammatory cells in the lining of the stomach or intestines, caused by disease or injury. There are four types of IBD.

Types include:

  • Lymphocytic-plasmatic enteritis
  • Eosinophilic enteritis
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
  • Lymphangiectasia

Budesonide has a local effect on the lining of the stomach without high absorption by the body. It's administered in capsules that are resistant to digestive juices. Once the budesonide reaches the gastro-intestinal tract it dissolves and provides relief to inflamed cells and tissues. The liver inactivates budesonide and allows the endocrine system to function normally. Budesonide is stronger than most other corticosteroids. The extent of absorption of budesonide is based on the severity of the bowel disease. Cats with advanced IBD are likely to absorb higher amounts.

  • Symptoms of IBD in cats:
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Mucus or blood in stool
  • Fever and weight loss in severe cases

Along with these symptoms, laboratory findings show evidence of inflamed pancreas and liver in certain cats. In order to detect IBD in cats the vet will conduct tests such as x-ray, ultrasound, biopsy and fecal examination.

In addition to medication like budesonide, dietary changes are necessary. Hypoallergenic diets are beneficial. As part of the diet, the cat will be fed a new source of protein and carbohydrate that she has never consumed before. During the tenure of the hypoallergenic diet, the cat must not be fed any other food or treats. The diet has to be fed for nearly 3 months for any change to take effect. Diets high in fiber are useful in some cases of IBD. Research also recommends diets rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

Budesonide Side Effects

Since the liver prevents excessive absorption of budesonide, animals with decreased liver function might not benefit from it. Budesonide is a corticosteroid and its side effects include increased hunger, thirst and frequent urination. It can also lead to Cushing's disease if it's absorbed by the body in high amounts. Budesonide also interacts with other drugs such as erythromycin, cimetidine, fluconazole and itraconazole.

Cats suffering from IBD may not be cured completely. However, a majority of sick cats respond positively to corticosteroid therapy. The therapy works to reduce diarrhea and intestinal inflammation. Although the real cause for inflammatory bowel disease is not established, nutrition, immune system abnormalities and infections may all contribute to the disease.

You need to contact your vet promptly if your pet shows unusual symptoms during treatment with budesonide.

  • Watch for:
  • Tarry stools
  • Muscle loss
  • Pot belly
  • Weakness

Budesonide shouldn't be stopped suddenly as it could lead to death. Before administering budesonide, carefully read the dosage instructions and consult your vet if you notice abnormal changes in your pet.