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Glucocorticoids an Overview
of the Use of the Anti-inflammatory Steroids in Horses
  by Robert N. Oglesby DVM


Introduction » Useful Definitions » Pharmacology » Overdosage » Drug Interactions » Contraindications/Precautions » Adverse Effects and Warnings » Drug and Laboratory Interactions » Monitoring Parameters » Client Information » Drug Regulations » More Info 

The term steroid is confusing to most horsemen as it applies to so many different drugs with very different actions in the body. There are the steroids associated with sexual function, body building, those associated with stress, those associated with mineral metabolism and finally those associated with anti-inflammatory action. They are referred to as the glucocorticoids and what we are going to discuss in this report. However you need to know that almost all steroids, including the anti-inflammatory ones, cross-react and cause some of these other actions listed above. The more cross-reactive a steroid is the less useful it is clinically because this cross reaction results in undesirable side effects.

The anti-inflammatory steroids belong to the group called glucocorticoids which are any steroid-like compounds capable of significantly influencing energy metabolism and of exerting a clinically useful anti-inflammatory effect. Most medications are man adapted forms of the natural adrenal glucocorticoid hydrocortisone also called cortisol. They generally are more potent with less side effects than the natural compound.

There are not many diseases glucocorticoids have not been used to treat but are best indicated for treatment for noninfectious inflammation and anaphylactic shock. Some of the diseases they are used for in the horse are:
  • arthritis
  • COPD (Heaves)
  • recurrent uveitis
  • sweet itch or culicoides hypersensitivity
  • allergies and hives
  • collagen diseases with inflammatory or autoimmune causes, lupus and pemphigus
  • autoimmune hemolytic anemia's and thrombocytopenia
  • neoplasia's
  • increased CSF pressure
  • some types of malabsorption syndromes
  • nephrotic syndrome
  • adrenal insufficiency
This article is about the pharmacology, metabolic effects, drug interactions, contraindications / precautions, adverse effects, drug interactions, scientific papers, and association drug rules that apply to this medication.
      ~Word Count: 2935 words (The average magazine page contains about 600 words);
      ~Last Updated: July 10, 2015;
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