What is Depo-Medrol for Cats?

When a cat is suffering from a health condition, a visit to the vet is usually required. Depending on the condition, the vet may deliver a range of treatments or prescribe medication. One type of medication that they may prescribe is Depo-Medrol.

If your cat has been prescribed this, then you may wonder what this medication is, what it is prescribed for and if there are any health risks associated with this medication. Here is what you need to know about Dep-Medrol.

What is Depo-Medrol?

Dep-Medrol is the brand name for a medication called methylprednisolone that is usually administered by injection. Unless the vet explains thoroughly, cat owners often mistakenly believe that their cat has been given an antibiotic injection.

That is not the case as Depo-Medrol is not an antibiotic, it is a steroid. This is not the same sort of steroid that bodybuilders use to build their muscles; it is related to the hormone cortisone and stimulates hormones made by the cat’s adrenal cortex o reduce inflammation.

Why is Depo-Medrol Prescribed?

Depo-Medrol is most commonly prescribed as an anti-inflammatory drug. In some instances, it is used before the vet has been able to make a full diagnosis of what is causing the problem and the vet gives this drug as a short-term fix to reduce the symptoms of inflammation in the cat. It is also commonly used for allergies, arthritis, other joint problems, asthma, and kidney problems.

What Are the Main Benefits of Depo-Medrol?

The main benefits of Depo-Medrol are that it reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system. In turn, this reduces the level of pain and discomfort experienced by a cat. In the case of allergies, it can reduce the itching experienced while when given for arthritis and other joint problems, it helps with movement. A vet will always assess whether the benefits of prescribing Depo-Medrol outweigh the risks associated with this drug.

Are There Any Short-Term Side Effects of Taking Depo-Medrol for Cats?

Often, Depo-Medrol is given as a one-off treatment by injection. Like all medications, it can cause short-term effects and some of these are relatively common. Nearly all cats experience excessive thirst immediately after they have been given this medication and this leads to excessive urination.

An increased appetite is another common side-effect, so they may gain a small amount of weight in the period immediately after being given Depo-Medrol. A way in which it affects some cats is that it can make them lethargic, although it will be difficult to tell if your cat sleeps a lot anyway.

More serious short-term side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, and a mild form of ataxia, which is a loss of muscle control. In some cases, a cat will have a severe reaction to this drug and they will need to return to the vet immediately.

One sign that they have reacted badly is if they are having difficulty breathing. The vet will resolve this situation and your cat will not be prescribed Depo-Medrol in the future.

What About Long-Term Risks?

For some conditions, the long-term use of Depo-Medrol is a viable option. For example, if a cat has severe allergies, a vet may prescribe this medication long-term to keep this under control.

The cat will then receive a shot every six to eight weeks. The vet may even teach you how to do the shot to save having to make regular trips to the vet. With long-term use of Depo-Medrol, there are additional risks. One of the main problems that are associated with taking this drug in the long-term is that the cat may develop Cushing’s disease. Another potential problem is developing ulcers in the alimentary canal.

Other Warnings

If your cat is pregnant, it is important to let your vet know as Depo-Medrol is not safe for cats during pregnancy. By making your vet aware of this, then they will prescribe alternative medication or treatment for your cat. If you notice anything unusual about your cat after they have been given Depo-Medrol, it is important to let your vet know immediately. If your cat has been prescribed Dep-Medrol by your vet, you should not give them vitamins or other medication without discussing it with your vet first.

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