There are marked differences in the pharmacokinetics of the various members of the glucocorticosteroid family of drugs, and interested readers should consult detailed pharmacology textbooks if they require this information.

Indications and contraindications

  • The commonly used glucocorticosteroids in veterinary medicine include betamethasone, dexamethasone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone and triamcinolone.

  • The more potent glucocorticosteroids, such as dexamethasone and betamethasone, are used for initial control of a problem, but not for long-term management.
  • The rapid acting methylprednisolone acetate can be used in an emergency.
  • The less potent agents, such as prednisolone, hydrocortisone and methylprednisolone are used for long-term management. The eventual aim is to use the lowest possible dose on alternate days that will control the clinical symptoms.

  • Prednisolone - oral dose at 0.2-1.0 mg/kg alternate days.

  • Dexamethasone - i/v dose at 0.5-4.0 mg/kg (can go up to 5 mg/kg single non-repeated dose in extreme circumstances).
  • Methyiprednisolone acetate -i/v dose at 20-30 mg/kg tid in emergency.

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