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Budesonide for Dogs and Cats

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General Drug Information and Indications

Budesonide is a human drug that is used for the medical management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in dogs and cats. It is a potent, locally acting corticosteroid. When taken orally, budesonide works primarily at the local level within the gastrointestinal tract. In humans, the oral form of this drug is used for the treatment of Crohn's disease.

Budesonide does not cure IBD, but helps to control the symptoms. Your pet may require this medication for the rest of its life. Do not stop this medication without checking with your veterinarian. Like many other drugs in veterinary medicine, this drug is not FDA approved for use in animals and is not available from a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer. Instead, it is compounded by a specialty pharmacy.

How to Give this Medication

Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of budesonide, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up.

Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.

Side Effects

Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.

Although side effects due to corticosteroid use are uncommon with budesonide, should they occur, they would include increased thirst, increased urine output, increased appetite and changes in hair coat.


Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. Budesonide is a prescription drug and should be used according to your veterinarian's directions, and only given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person.

Budesonide is used with caution in animals with ulcers, active infection, diabetes, or cataracts or poor liver function

If your pet is scheduled for surgery, be sure to tell your vet that your pet is taking budesonide.

Drug Interactions

Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving.

Budesonide should not be used in animals receiving the following drugs: erythromycin, cimetidine, ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole, and diltiazem.


If you suspect your pet or another animal was overdosed accidentally or has eaten this medication inadvertently, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.'s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.

If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center at 800.222.1222.


Different strengths or dosage forms of budesonide may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.

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About the Author

Dr. Barbara Forney

Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.

She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.

Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.