We often prescribe cortisone for allergies and immune related diseases. Prednisolone, Macrolone or Antihistalone tablets contain a form of cortisone called prednisolone. Short or long acting cortisone injections contain dexamethasone.
After 5 days of prednisolone tabs every day the adrenal glands start to slow their production of natural cortisol. It is safe to stop after 5 days of daily tablets but if we prescribe a longer course follow our instructions carefully. Usually we recommend every other day tablets so that the adrenal glands keep functioning.
On a long course of prednisolone do not stop giving the tablets suddenly. Your pet may not be able to step up the production of cortisol fast enough to cope with an emergency, like a dog attack, a new pet or illness, and may collapse.
Side effects of cortisone include:
- Increased fluid intake
- Increased urine production
- Increased appetite
Longer term and more serious side effects of cortisone include:
- Cushings disease signs like a pot belly, flakey skin, enlarged liver and weak legs
- Diabetes mellitus
Cortisone and anti-inflammatories given at the same time cause stomach ulcers. We give anti-inflammatories such as Previcox, Deramax, Rimadyl, Metacam and Meloxicam for postoperative pain relief or arthritis. Please make sure your vet knows that your pet is on anti-inflammatories already.
A short acting dexamethasone injection rarely causes more than a mild increase in fluid and food intake.
We only inject long-acting dexamethasone if your pet is difficult to medicate or if your cat has a chronic condition that is not responsive to other cortisones. Cats are generally more resistant than dogs to the side-effects of cortisone but very occasionally long-acting dexamethasone tips a weak heart into failure.