• Commonly prescribed for: Management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and certain types of colitis
  • Species: Dogs and Cats
  • Therapeutic Class: Locally Acting Corticosteroid

Basic Information:

Budesonide is a locally acting corticosteroid used in veterinary medicine to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and some forms of colitis in dogs and cats. Unlike systemic corticosteroids, budesonide acts primarily at the site of inflammation with minimal systemic absorption, making it a preferred choice for long-term management of these conditions.

Veterinary Medicine Uses:

Budesonide is particularly effective in managing:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Reducing gastrointestinal inflammation helps control symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Colitis: Used to reduce colon inflammation, especially when certain types of colitis are diagnosed.


  • Absorption and Metabolism: Budesonide has low systemic bioavailability due to high first-pass hepatic metabolism, which minimizes systemic corticosteroid-related side effects.
  • Formulation: Available in various forms such as capsules, tablets, oral suspensions, and transdermal gels, which can be customized through compounding pharmacies to suit individual patient needs.

Side Effects:

  • Common: Increased appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, and changes in hair coat.
  • Less Common: Muscle loss, weakness, black and tarry stools (indicating gastrointestinal bleeding).


  • Contraindications: Should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity to the drug, and with caution in those with existing infections, diabetes, ulcers, cataracts, or liver impairments.
  • Interactions: May interact with drugs like erythromycin, ketoconazole, and diltiazem which inhibit the CYP3A enzyme responsible for its metabolism.

Drug Interactions:

  • Inhibitors of CYP3A: Drugs such as ketoconazole can increase systemic exposure to budesonide, potentially leading to an increased risk of side effects.
  • Antacids: Oral antacids can dissolve the enteric coating of some budesonide formulations, altering its absorption and effectiveness.

Overdose Management:

Emergency Care: In case of overdose, immediate veterinary care is required, potentially involving gut-emptying protocols and supportive care to manage symptoms such as severe weakness or collapse.

Administration Tips:

Dosage and Administration: It is crucial to follow the veterinarian’s prescription regarding the dosage and frequency of administration. Never double doses or change the dosing schedule without consulting the veterinarian.