Budesonide or Prednisone, finding the best treatment for IBD in your dog?

vet giving dog medication

For years pet owners have turned to the steroids such as prednisone or prednisolone for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. However, with the introduction of Budesonide that has changed for many owners.

What is Budesonide?

Budesonide is a synthetic, water soluble corticosteroid used in humans and animals to treat inflammatory diseases such as IBD and allergies. It can be administered topically, as an inhalant for allergies or orally and has been show to be fifteen times more potent than prednisolone

Many pet owners that use budesonide long-term have stated that they notice a significant decrease in the side effects that came with prednisone administration.

Potential Side-Effects of Budesonide

Since it is a steroid, many of the side-effects owners noted were similar such as increased appetite, increased thirst (polydipsia) followed by excessive urination (polyuria) and changes in coat quality. These side effects were slightly less common with Budesonide than Prednisone.

Budesonide was shown to cause significant suppression of the activity in the hypthalamic-pitutitary-adrenal axis. This correlates with the side effects noted.

Although noted to a lesser degree there is of course the risk of more serious side effects such as weakness, severe muscle loss, and black stools from internal bleeding.

In addition, owners are warned to not discontinue this medication abruptly, as it can cause severe weakness, vomiting, collapse and, in severe cases, sudden death. This is the tapering off period that most patients need when taking steroids and prevents adrenal shock.

How does Budesonide stand up to Prednisone?

To determine this, I turned to research studies and unfortunately found little information available. There was one major study that looked into the the differences of the two drugs which found little to no difference in the side effects or efficacy.

The remission rates of IBD in dogs administered either budesonide or prednisone, were fairly similar. In those given budesonide remission was noted in 78% of dogs and 69% in the prednisone group, which was only a slight difference.

The frequency of adverse effects was similar between the two groups as well. In conclusion, was no major difference in remission rates or adverse effects in either group. The study mentioned only ran for six weeks and unfortunately there aren’t many more investigations into the use of budesonide as a treatment of IBD in dogs.

Of course many of the drugs used for IBD have success based on an individual patient basis. Therefore, if you are looking for alternative therapies for IBD, definitely discuss budesonide with your vet.

Are you already using budesonide as a treatment in your pet? Let us know below how is your dog tolerating the steroid?

dog taking medication
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4 thoughts on “Budesonide or Prednisone, finding the best treatment for IBD in your dog?

  1. My dog is a 4 year old German Shepherd with history of inflammatory bowel syndrome. He has been taking Budesonide 0.5 ml. for about a month. He eats Royal canine German Shepherd wet food and dry food. We have also included can Alaska salmon and Idaho potatoes in addition to have a little variety and to help with the IBD.
    We have started a nutramax probiotic paste for 3 days since he did get diarrhea. We also were giving a nutramax probiotic pill for a week. The vet wanted us to stop the probiotic and try only the steroid. After 2 days of no probiotic, he has started back with diarrhea. Will the probiotic interfere with the steroid ? I would like to continue the probiotics since they have seemed to help. He has lost 8 pounds in the last three months. Thank you for your help.

  2. We have a 9+ year old French Bulldog. She has IBD and we’ve tried almost everything. An Endoscopy to take biopsies to rule out other possibilities. She also had ultra-sounds and an exploratory surgery since she ingested something and it was resolved.
    She was given a course of Flagyl, then Baytril and now Budesonide .05 every evening for about the last two weeks. The diarrhea is continuous and persistent over several months. She has lost weight. She eats and drinks more. No other noticeable side effects. The Vet indicated that with this IBD her system is not absorbing nutrition as it should. It probably doesn’t make a difference to change the food to something that will boost her weight.

    We’re not noticing any other side effects such a change in coat or “pot belly.”

  3. Our Frenchie was prescribed Budesonide for some bouts of vomiting but she is having numerous accidents around the house urinating in beds since she started the medication.
    Overall she seems to be passed any issues and we would like to try to wean her off of this medication and are having difficulty getting a hold of the vet …..would you be able to comment? it’s really uncomfortable for her having to go to the bathroom like every two hours and then urinating in her bed at night:(

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