Prednisolone is a glucocorticoid medication used to treat several conditions in the cat and often used for short periods of time and at low doses for allergic pets to decrease itching and reduce inflammation. It is important to note the oral prednisone is more potent than hydrocortisone (which is available as an over the counter cream) and therefore needs to be used carefully and with caution in certain pets. Potential side effects vary and some pets may be more sensitive than others. Often side effects are more frequent at the higher doses and include increase in thirst, urination and hunger. Less common reactions include panting, changes in behavior which include agitation and aggression. Prolonged treatment is associated with dry poor coat quality, hair loss, thin skin, weight gain, muscle weakness, pot belly appearance and increased risk for the development of secondary urinary tract and skin infections and diabetes mellitus. For our allergic pets, short courses of low dose therapy are used to control the current itch, while other therapies are started to provide long term allergy relief. If any unwanted side effects or changes in behavior or health are detected, this medication should be discontinued and our veterinarians should be notified.
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