Cortisone Pills for Cats

"Try sticking another pill down my throat and see if I let you keep that finger."
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It breaks your heart when Bella isn’t quite acting like her playful self. Your veterinarian may prescribe your fuzzy pal cortisone pills for a variety of reasons – from allergies to pain from arthritis. Pills aren’t easy to give to kitties, so you’ll want to have your vet show you how.

What It Does

Cortisone is a type of hormone that many mammals produce in the adrenal glands. It reduces inflammation, often triggered by an overactive immune system. If Bella is suffering from allergies and tugging out patches of her fur, cortisone pills can control her allergy, so she’s not so itchy. Cortisone can also lessen swelling and pain in her joints, making it easier for her to get back to her normal routine, or even minimize breathing problems she has with asthma.

Problems with Cortisone Pills

An increase in appetite and fluid intake are common side effects of cortisone pills, although if your cat 's behavior alarms you, take her to the vet as a precaution. Your feline’s health is dependent on you giving her the proper dosage of her pills. If you give her an extra dose, she may wind up with toxic doses of cortisone in her body. High levels of cortisone can cause diabetes, an enlarged liver and Cushing’s syndrome, a condition that causes excessive urination, hair loss and very weak legs. Missing a dose of cortisone is equally detrimental to your cuddly pal’s health. If you miss a dose, contact your veterinarian right away to get Bella back on track.

Other Considerations

If her cortisone levels get too high and start causing health issues, it might not be from a pill overdose. If her system isn’t functioning properly, her body could be producing lots of cortisone, even though she’s getting the pill. Sometimes high cortisone levels stem from a small tumor on the pituitary gland, requiring invasive surgery, explains Dr. Edward C. Feldman, a veterinarian out of California. If you notice any abnormalities in your furry buddy’s routine or personality, get her to the vet right away. Her cortisone pills may be doing more harm than good.

Getting Her to Take It

In a perfect world, Bella would take a sip of water, you’d pop the pill in her mouth and she’d swallow. Unfortunately, cats don’t function like that. Giving a cat a pill is sometimes a two-person job that requires one person at each end, holding her steady. Grasp her head from the top, place your thumb on one corner of her mouth and your middle finger on the other corner of her mouth, tilting her head back. She should quickly open up her mouth so you can drop the pill right down her throat. Your veterinarian can help you learn this technique. You might be able to bribe her to take her cortisone pill by shoving her pill inside a small ball of wet food or specialized pill treat pocket. Just watch her closely to make sure she actually swallows the pill. Some kitties are finicky and eat just the food around the medication.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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