Prednisone for Cats

Prednisone for cats is used in the treatment of a number of conditions. It can be administered orally in the form of a syrup, a liquid or a tablet; prednisone also comes in an injectable form. Dosages for cats will vary depending on the condition being treated and the size of the cat.

Administering Prednisone to Cats

Prednisone for cats comes in a variety of forms. The drug may be given orally as a syrup, a liquid or a tablet. In serious cases, vets may prefer to administer the injectable form of prednisone.

Cats shouldn't be kept on prednisone as a long term treatment. High dosages of the drug, or long term use, can have dangerous side effects. Side effects of long term prednisone use can include liver failure and gastric ulcers.

Conditions for which Prednisone Is Used

Prednisone is a corticosteroid and, as such, is often given to cats as an anti-inflammatory. Cats with inflammatory conditions such as irritable bowel disorder, allergies or asthma may be given prednisone until the inflammation recedes or the condition is cured. Vets typically administer one milligram of prednisone per pound of body weight twice a day until the inflammation recedes or the condition is resolved. As the cat's condition improves, the dosage will be progressively reduced.

Prednisone is also useful in the treatment of autoimmune conditions because it is an immunosuppressant. Vets will prescribe a somewhat higher dose of prednisone for cats suffering from autoimmune disorders, including cancer. Cats being treated for autoimmune disease may need to receive up to three milligrams of prednisone per pound of body weight each day. Your vet will reduce the dosage as the cat's condition improves, but he will probably need to keep receiving prednisone daily until the condition is successfully treated.

Side Effects of Prednisone Use in Cats

Prednisone is a steroid and carries a number of side effects when used in cats. Short term side effects of prednisone use in cats include:

  • Prednisone may make your cat more thirsty than usual, so he could drink more water and urinate more often.
  • Prednisone may increase your cat's appetite and lead to weight gain and food cravings.
  • Prednisone can irritate your cat's stomach and cause diarrhea.
  • Because prednisone acts as an immunosuppressant, your cat becomes more vulnerable to infection while receiving prednisone. Prednisone can also cause dormant infections to become active. You and your vet should be on the look out for secondary infections while your cat receives prednisone.
  • Your cat may display changes in behavior. He may become abnormally aggressive or unreasonably fearful.

Prednisone for cats also carries a number of dangerous side effects that can occur with long term use. Generally, cats shouldn't receive prednisone for longer than a few months. But cats being treated for cancer and other chronic conditions, especially autoimmune conditions, may need to receive prednisone in the long term. Look out for these long term side effects:

  • Hair loss
  • Damage to the adrenal gland, resulting in dangerous hormonal dysfunction
  • Liver damage