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Fludrocortisone Acetate for Dogs and Cats

By Barbara Forney, VMD

Commonly prescribed for: Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's disease)

Species: Dogs and Cats

Therapeutic Class: Synthetic Hormone


General Drug Information and Indications

Fludrocortisone acetate is a synthetic hormone that is used to treat hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's disease) in dogs and cats. Addison's disease occurs when an animal's or person's adrenal gland does not manufacture the appropriate amount of hormones. Fludrocortisone acetate replaces both glucocorticoid and mineralocortical hormones, but it is a much stronger drug for the replacement of mineralocorticoid. Mineralocorticoids have an important role in the regulation of electrolytes and water balance in the body. These hormones act upon the kidney, causing it to retain sodium and excrete potassium. When the body does not make an appropriate amount of these hormones, blood sodium levels may become dangerously low, blood potassium levels may become dangerously high, and the animal may also retain fluid. An acute episode of hypoadrenocorticism is called an Addisonian crisis. This is a true medical emergency.


Like many other drugs in veterinary medicine, fludrocortisone acetate is not FDA-approved for use in animals and is not available from a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer. Instead, it is compounded by a specialty pharmacy.

How to Give this Medication

Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of fludrocortisone acetate, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up.

Your veterinarian may recommend adding more salt to your animal's diet. This recommendation will be based on the sodium levels in your pet's blood. Do not add salt without discussing it with your veterinarian.

Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.

Side Effects

Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.

Some dogs may develop increased thirst and frequency or volume of urination. These animals may need to have their dose reevaluated.

Precautions

Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. Fludrocortisone acetate is a prescription drug and should be used according to your veterinarian's directions. It should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person.

Animals with decreased adrenal function may need additional corticosteroids before surgery or during times of stress.

Electrolytes and kidney function should be checked regularly while your animal is being treated.

Over time, many dogs will need increasing doses of fludrocortisone acetate in order to keep their electrolyte levels within normal range.

Fludrocortisone acetate is excreted in maternal milk. Puppies or kittens of animals receiving this drug will need to be put on milk replacement.

Drug Interactions

Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving.

The following drugs may have interactions with fludrocortisone acetate: amphotericin B, diuretics including furosemide, and aspirin.

Overdose

If you suspect your pet or another animal was overdosed accidentally or has eaten this medication inadvertently, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.'s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.

If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center at 800.222.1222.

Storage

Different strengths or dosage forms of fludrocortisones acetate may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.

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