Prednisone is a corticosteroid that is given to cats for a wide variety of reasons. The dosage depends upon the weight of the cat and the condition it is trying to cure. Prednisone can be found in several name-brand veterinary medicines such as Delta-Corftef, Prednis-Tab, Meticorten, Sterisol and Cortisate-20. It is also available in generic form.
Prednisone for cats comes in a syrup form, suspension liquid, injectable form in two concentrations and various sized tablets. Depending on the cat's condition, the type of prednisone given will help determine the dosage amount. Pills are usually given. Injectables are preferred in cases of bacterial shock.
Prednisone is given to cats for several anti-inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, severe skin inflammation and any breathing problems caused by swellings. According to "The Pill Book Guide to Medication For Your Dog and Cat" (Kate A.W. Roby, VMD, et al, 1998), cats are started off at 1 mg of prednisone per pound that the cat weighs. This is given one or two times a day. When the cat seems better, one dose is given every other day until the cat is cured.
If a cat has a condition affecting the immune system where the body is attacking itself, such as cancer, then prednisone dosage is different. It starts off at 1 to 3 mg per pound that the cat weighs once a day, and when the cat seems better is tapered to 1 to 2 mg every other day.
According to Barbara Forney, VMD, cats have a higher tolerance for prednisone than dogs or horses and rarely develop bad side effects. Contact a vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center if a cat on prednisone shows these prednisone side effects: extreme thirst; urinating more often than usual; sudden changes in behavior; sudden weight gain; or vomiting with diarrhea. It is normal for cats being treated with prednisone to lose some of their fur.
Cats are able to tolerate the high end of the prednisone dosage scale for only short time. If they are on prednisone for months, they risk developing severe long-term side effects, such as gastric ulcers and liver problems. Also, because of the immunosuppressant nature of prednisone, annual vaccines might become less effective.