Inflammatory bowel disease is a common and severe intestinal condition in cats causing chronic, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Most cats require long-term corticosteroids drug therapy that usually carries the risk of system (whole body) effects. In many cats severe side effects result, or they fail to respond at tolerable doses. In others, serious side effects of steroids can include alterations in blood sugar, urinary tract infections, and loss of muscle mass. Cats that do not respond to steroids, or have severe side effects when treated with these drugs, are often placed on toxic chemotherapy agents.
Budesonide is a new type of steroid that has shown great promise when used to treat inflammatory bowel disease in humans. This drug has minimal systemic effects on the body because the liver rapidly clears it from the blood stream. When budesonide is administered by mouth, it can provide potent, positive effects on the intestines prior to being cleared from the body by the liver. Thus, budesonide may provide a valuable alternative to regular steroids, or chemotherapy type drugs in the management of feline inflammatory bowel disease.