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What is it used for?

Budesonide is a prescribed medication used for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other inflammatory intestinal diseases in both cats and dogs.

IBD, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease, is not just a disorder that impacts humans. IBD in cats and dogs can lead to a range of gastrointestinal symptoms from diarrhea and constipation to vomiting and refusal to eat. When the bowels are inflamed, the GI tract itself becomes irritated and rife with inflammation, contributing to a buildup of uncomfortable GI symptoms.

With IBD, your dog or cat is more likely to experience a range of digestive issues that can include nausea, vomiting, and even ongoing chronic diarrhea. Without proper treatment, your pet’s intestinal lining may continue to thicken or cause additional trouble for your pet while eating and relieving themselves.

Budesonide is classified as a glucocorticoid, or a systemic steroid. Budesonide works to help alleviate inflamed digestive tracts with its anti-inflammatory properties. As the drug is delayed as it enters the system, it has more time to help coat more of the body’s intestines, which are already targeted and inflamed due to IBD.

Because IBD is rarely cured or curable in animals (as well as in many humans), treating the condition with a proper regimen can significantly improve the overall quality of life. In some instances, Budesonide can also be used in replacing prednisone or even prednisolone for other immunotherapy and autoimmune-treating purposes.

Side Effects
As with most medications and systemic steroids, Budesonide may also cause side effects in both cats and dogs. Although the following are considered common side effects, it is important to report any symptoms that do not go away to your pet’s veterinarian:

Increased fatigue
Headache (visually showcasing head pain)
Runny nose/increased allergies
Pain/back pain
Excessive thirst
Increase urination

In addition to more common side effects, the following adverse side effects should be taken seriously and addressed immediately with your pet’s veterinarian if they present themselves:

Skin rash
Allergic reaction/itching
Swelling of the neck, lymph nodes, and/or face
Blurred vision/changes in vision
Easy bruising
Severe lasting headache
Trouble breathing/panting/breathlessness

Because Budesonide is a steroid used not only for humans, but also for animals, it is important to remember that other side effects may occur. As Budesonide is an extended-release capsule steroid, monitor your dog or cat’s reaction and behavior hours and even days after their initial administration of the medication.

Monitor and track the reactions your pet has immediately after they receive their Budesonide capsule as well as in the following hours and days after they begin taking the medication.

Precautions with this medication
With any medication, including Budesonide, there are precautions to consider before administering the steroid to your own dog or cat. Animals with the following conditions or infections should not be prescribed Budesonide for their intestinal disorders/conditions or IBD itself:

  • Liver impairments and/or previously diagnosed disease
  • Diabetes
  • Ulcers
  • Cataracts
  • An ongoing and active infection

If your dog or cat has experienced digestive issues or GI tract trouble in the past, it is imperative to speak with your veterinarian about potential issues and side effects that are more likely to arise as a result.

It is also important to consider other conditions your canine or feline companion may have, such as autoimmune diseases or disorders. Because Budesonide is a powerful steroid, other autoimmune conditions may be impacted or interfered with, depending on the type of autoimmune disease your dog or cat may have.

This medication should be used with caution on animals who:

Have liver disease, a history of GI/digestive issues, or autoimmune disease. As Budesonide is a systemic steroid, all previous diagnoses and medical conditions should be taken into proper consideration before the medication is permitted.

Possible drug and medication interactions

With Budesonide, there are a few possible drug and medication interactions to remain aware of, especially if your pet is already on a daily regimen of vitamins and/or prescription medications for other ailments, diseases, and conditions. Common medication interactions to consider when using Budesonide for your cat or dog include:

  • Itraconazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Diltiazem
  • Fluconazole
  • Cimetidine
  • Erythromycin

If you administer special vitamins, minerals, or other solutions to your pet daily, it is highly advisable to inform your veterinarian prior to them prescribing any medication(s) for your cat or dog. The more history and information you share with your veterinarian regarding your pet, the easier it is to determine the right medications and courses of action for your cat or dog’s IBD symptoms.

How long does it take to work?

With the treatment of Budesonide, it is possible for your pet to experience relief from their IBD symptoms with as little as one dosage. However, most steroids, multiple doses are required in order to reap the benefits offered from the medication. Depending on the severity of your pet’s symptoms, your dosage and ordered regimen with Budesonide are likely to vary. Speak directly with your dog or cat’s veterinarian to learn more about the duration in which your animal should receive Budesonide in order to maximize the overall effectiveness of the steroid when they are in need.


Administering Budesonide is not extremely challenging if you are able to mix the extended-release capsule into the food or even into a treat for your dog or cat each time a new dose is required.

First, speak to your veterinarian directly to determine the appropriate dosage of Budesonide for your dog or cat based on their age, medical history, weight, as well as the seriousness of their current IBD flare-up.

After administering Budesonide, wash your hands to prevent accidental ingestion yourself. Monitor your pet closely to watch for potential interactions and/or side effects that require further addressing or attention. If you notice serious side effects or adverse reactions that are significant, contact your veterinarian or your local emergency veterinary line as quickly as possible.

In most cases, animals react fairly well to the usage of Budesonide when it comes to soothing and aiding an inflamed GI tract.

Dosage for Felines and Canines

Whenever your animal is prescribed a new medication such as Budesonide, ensuring the dosage is right is a must. Administering too much medication can result in serious and life-threatening conditions. Administering too little of a medication, especially a steroid such as Budesonide, can lead to ineffectiveness and little to no relief for your pet’s digestive/IBD condition.

Most veterinarians typically prescribe 1 mg of Budesonide daily for felines, and 1-3 mg of Budesonide daily for canines. However, the dosage prescribed for your pet may vary depending on the age, weight, and individual needs of your dog or cat.

Budesonide is not available OTC (over-the-counter), and should never be purchased, obtained, used, or administered without a prescription and under the care of a licensed medical physician or veterinarian. Administering Budesonide, or any steroid in an animal or person that does not require them can have dire and life-threatening adverse outcomes.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss administering a dose of Budesonide to your canine or feline pet, do not give them an additional dosage. Instead, simply wait until the next dose is due for your pet to administer the medication. Overloading your pet on multiple doses of Budesonide can lead to various side effects ranging from an increased heart rate to serious and life-threatening conditions, as the steroid itself can be extremely powerful on smaller animals.

If you do not feel comfortable waiting until the next dose for your pet, contact your pet’s veterinarian directly to inquire about your options and to determine the best course of action for your animal.

Signs and Symptoms of an Overdose

Because Budesonide is a steroid that assists with anti-inflammatory properties throughout the body, it is important to ensure that it is right for your pet, especially for serious conditions such as IBD. Some of the signs and symptoms of an overdose that are common among pets who have consumed or been administered too much Budesonide include:

  • Digestive reactions such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, gastrointestinal pain, etc.
  • Appetite changes (significant changes)
  • Increased heart rate, especially in smaller animals that require smaller doses of Budesonide
  • Easy bruising

In tests and experiments, massive dosages of more than 100x the recommended amount were tested in mice, resulting in fatalities. In the instance of a potential overdose with your cat or dog when it comes to Budesonide, a gut-evacuation procedure may be necessary.




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