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A Guide to Depo Medrol for Dogs and Cats - The Anti Inflammatory

How this Treatment Helps with a Variety of Ailments

By Sam Bourne. September 09, 2013

indications for Depo Medrol

Depo Medrol is a synthetic glucocorticoid, which is a family of anti-inflammatory drugs that work by blocking the body's immune system from causing an infected area to swell, thereby treating a wide swath of diseases caused by an overactive immune system, such as allergic reactions, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and sepsis. Similar to other drugs in the same family, Depo Medrol has a greater anti-inflammatory effect than its sister drug prednisolone, and is less likely to cause sodium and water retention.

Precautions

Depo medrol has been contraindicated for use in fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases, as well as in pregnant pets, or pets with idiopathic thrombocytopenia. Depo medrol should be used with caution in pets suffering from heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, tuberculosis, chronic nephritis, Cushing’s disease, or gastrointestinal ulcers.

Depo medrol might cause an increase in glucose, cholesterol, potassium, and alkaline phosphatase blood levels.

Use with other corticosteroids could increase the risk of side effects. Antacids can cause glucocorticoid absorption. Anticholinesterase use in patients with myasthenia gravis can cause muscle weakness. Use with diuretics can cause hypokalemia as a result of excessive potassium depletion. Estrogen agents may increase the effects of depo medrol. Use with macrolide antibiotics might lead to an increase in glucocorticoid activity and longevity. NSAID type drugs are not to be given to patients taking depo medrol. Taking with ulcerogenic drugs may increase the likelihood of a GI ulcer. Live attenuated virus vaccines should not be given at the same time as depo medrol, since the replication of the virus might be augmented.

Dosage

Being a prescription medication, you should always follow your vet’s instructions. These directions are only given for your own edification, but are not to be used for modifying your pets dosage yourself.

Dogs -- 1-2 mg/kg per day, divided into two or three doses. Once the signs are suppressed, change to one dose and give in the morning (7am-10am) for a week. Then reduce the dosage by half for another week, or alternate days. Continue reducing the dosage by half until the minimal effective dose is reached.

Cats -- 5.5 mg/kg either subcutaneously or intramuscularly, lasting for anywhere between a week and six months.

Side Effects

Depo medrol can lower the threshold for seizures, alter behavior and mood, stimulate appetite, and reduce the body's response to pathogens that cause a fever. A high dose might inhibit growth in nursing newborns. Polyuria, polydipsia, and polyphagia are common side effects. Some rarer side effects are the thinning of the skin, alopecia, muscle atrophy, or even Cushing’s disease.

Other side effects are panting, vomiting, diarrhea, ulcers, pancreatitis, lipidemia, or a worsening condition of diabetes mellitus. A high dose may inhibit the body's ability to heal and stave off infection.

In cats, cardiac disease or a worsening of a preexisting heart condition might occur.

Brand/Generic equivalents

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Depo Medrol at a glance

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  • 1For dogs and cats
  • 2Glucocorticoid and anti inflammatory
  • 3Taken subcutaneously or intramuscularly
  • 4Helps to reduce swelling