Alternatives to Prednisone for Cats: 11 Synthetic & Natural Options

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Prednisone is a type of corticosteroid medication that can also be used as immunosuppressants if given in high doses along with treating many other different conditions.

Prednisone helps in treating cats with asthma, severe allergies, and fight inflammation.

Though largely safe to use for short periods, this medication carries prospective side effects such as weight gain and water retention. It might also cause complications.

So if you’re looking for alternatives to prednisone for cats, there are both natural and synthetic replacements to suit any of your treatment options.

Alternatives to Prednisone for Cats

  • How Prednisone Works
  • What are Corticosteroids, Glucocorticoids, Mineralocorticoids?
  • Uses and Contraindications
  • Best Synthetic Alternatives to Prednisone for Cats (Dexamethasone, Triamcinolone, Methylprednisolone, Hydrocortisone)
  • Best Natural Alternatives to Prednisone for Cats (Acupuncture, Antioxidants, Supplements, Topical treatments)

How Prednisone Works

Prednisone is a glucocorticoid that actively breaks down stored fats, sugars, and protein to fuel the body. It also counteracts inflammatory processes caused by various stimuli.

Your cat’s adrenal glands secrete two classes of steroid hormones, mineralocorticoids, (aldosterone) which control electrolyte levels and hydration in the body.

Adrenal glands secrete corticosteroids to fight inflammation and regulate blood and electrolyte levels in the body. It’s inserted into the body and works by slowing your pet’s response to injury or disease.

Corticosteroids are natural hormones secreted from your cat’s adrenal glands. They’re involved in:

  • Inflammation control
  • Stress and immune system response
  • Hydration
  • Electrolyte and Blood level maintenance
  • Metabolism control

While glucocorticoids (cortisol) control carbohydrates, fat, protein metabolism and also reduces inflammation in the body.

Glucocorticoids are strong medications that fight inflammation and work with your pet’s body to strengthen its immune system.

Uses and Contraindications

Prednisone can be used to treat a variety of diseases, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Prednisone is used for many conditions, including:

  • Asthma
  • Severe allergies such as hives
  • Skin irritations
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Inflammatory orthopedic diseases
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia
  • Thrombocytopenia

Prednisone may be used in emergencies, such as anaphylactic reactions, spinal cord trauma, and other forms of shock.

Alternatives to Prednisone for Cats

If you don’t want your cat to experience side effects from the daily dosage of prednisone, you can opt for either synthetic or natural alternatives. They’re a suitable option, particularly if your cat has a chronic disease, such as allergies.

Synthetic Alternatives to Prednisone for Cats

Synthetic alternatives beat prednisone because they’re generally more potent and last longer.

Dexamethasone (Trade Names: Decadron, Dexasone, Diodex, Hexadrol)

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This medication is given orally, through tablets, or in liquid form. It could be given with or without food, but it’s preferred to be given with food.

Dexamethasone is 5 to 6 times more potent than prednisone regarding anti-inflammatory prospect and its effect lasts longer. Its half-life is between 36 to 72 hours, while prednisone’s half-life is between 12 to 36 hours.

Dexamethasone should be avoided if allergic, or in pets with diabetes, stomach or intestinal ulcers, or systemic fungal infections.

Triamcinolone (Trade Names: Cinolar, Kenalog, Triderm)

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Available in topical application forms, like creams, sprays, lotions, dental paste, and ointments.

It’s used to help in skin treatment. It contains bacitracin, neomycin, polymyxin, and antibiotics that operate by stopping bacterial growth.

Triamcinolone is a more target-specific medication than prednisone.

Methylprednisolone (Trade Names: Medrol, Durolane, Medralone)

It’s available in pill or injection form. A much cheaper option than prednisone can be found for less than $10. It’s 5 times stronger than prednisone. It’s used in conditions like lupus, severe psoriasis, and others.

It should not be used if there’s a fungal infection in the body.

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Hydrocortisone (Trade Names: Hydrocort, Alphosyl, Aquacort, Cortef)

It comes in pill, liquid, and suppository forms. It suppresses the immune system, lowers inflammation, and is identical to cortisol, which is a natural hormone that’s essential to humans.

It’s one of the safest options, which makes it the best option for long-term cortisol supplements. As it turns into natural cortisol, it will not interfere with other medications.

Pancrelipase (Trade Names: Creon, Ultrase, Zenpep, Zymase)

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These enzymes known as pancreatin are mixtures lipase, amylase, and protease. This medicine is mainly used to treat digestive problems.

It replaces the digestive enzymes if the pet’s body does not have enough. It treats conditions that lack these digestive enzymes, like pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, or pancreatic cancer.

Natural Alternatives to Prednisone for Cats

There are several ways of treating your pet that don’t involve medicine. Acupuncture has been indicated to treat various diseases. Though it doesn’t substitute veterinary care.

Referring to your veterinarian about your pet’s dietary plan is a good natural option.

Curcumin

This is the active ingredient for Tumeric. It’s both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. You can take up to 12 g (12,000 mg) of curcumin daily. It’s very effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. To benefit from its full effect, its bioavailability needs to increase. Black pepper, which contains piperine, is proven to enhance the absorption of curcumin by 2000%

CuraMed

This dietary supplement is curcumin with tumerons and it’s up to 500 times stronger than turmeric. CuraMed supports not only immune health, but it supports heart, brain, and liver health as well.

Serrapeptase

A dietary supplement that’s used for painful conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, amongst many others.

Serrapeptase conquers prednisone in exerting better anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling effects. This medicine is commonly used in third molar dental surgeries.

Ginger

Ginger’s bioactive component is gingerol. This spice has been used for thousands of years for various treatments.

Ginger has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antinausea, and anticarcinogenic properties that explain its usage for medical purposes.

Reishi

Reishi mushrooms are a kind of fungus. It’s mainly used to boost aging and the immune system, fight viral infections, asthma, and bronchitis.

Bromelain

A group of enzymes that are similar to natural enzymes in digestive tracts. They’re extracted from pineapples.

Side Effects of Prednisone

Short-term usage of prednisone is not harmful to cats, however, if used daily or in high doses, there will be side effects. You can opt for natural or synthetics alternatives to prednisone for cats because some of the effects are:

  • Weight gain
  • Water retention
  • Diabetes risk
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Red blood cell count increase

Conclusion

Prednisone is good in small doses for short periods, but if it continues for more than 2 weeks then complications start to arise. There are several synthetic and natural alternatives to prednisone for cats to choose from depending on your pet.

Basic good care of your pet goes a long way. Consult your veterinarian on how to feed your cat a rich and nutritious diet with minimal harmful chemicals, it will make a huge difference in your cat’s overall health.