Glucocorticoid medications (e.g. prednisolone, prednisone, dexamethasone, and methylprednisolone) can be used to treat many different feline diseases, including allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma. While the short-term use of these drugs is quite safe, cats who receive them over long periods of time, especially at high doses, are at risk for developing diabetes. To reduce this risk, glucocorticoids should be given at the lowest dose needed to control a cat’s symptoms.
Cats who become diabetic after receiving glucocorticoids should be slowly be weaned off of these medications, treated with insulin, and eat a low-carbohydrate/high-protein diet. As long as no permanent damage to insulin-secreting pancreatic cells has been done, the need for insulin therapy is usually temporary.