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My cats were recently diagnosed with an infestation of cheyletiella mites. As part of the treatment, the veternarian dermatologist (who diagnosed them) gave them each a shot of methylprednisolone to reduce the discomfort from itching while the mites died and the sores healed.

The cats are all convinced that they are starving, which seems to be a side effect of prednisolone. About a half hour after a meal, they start pestering us for food again. Should we give them extra food? Two of the three are already overweight (they're on a diet, normally). From their behavior this seems more intense than normal "it's dinnertime" begging, and more like if we've been out late and missed dinner time by 6-8 hours.

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So, usual disclaimer. :) Based on what I read, here's my take on it:

Common side effects of this steroid do include increased appetite, thirst, and urination from what I've read on this (a half dozen pharmacy sites for pets and humans). Of the three, the appetite side of this is little less of a concern as while their desire for food may have increased, their physical need for it has not.

So, what I would do here is:

  1. Ensure that they have a lot of extra fluids available. Dehydration would be a bigger concern so you may want to spread a few water dishes around the areas they like to hang out. Water is also a reasonable appetite suppressant if they drink enough of it.

  2. If you have them, add a few more litter boxes around and be prepared to clean a little more frequently. They are likely to use them more.

  3. Watch for vomiting, a less common side effect, but would be where the nutrition factor kicks in. If there are signs that they are vomiting, then you may want to increase their food availability presuming that it's light and not constant.

In any event, if the side effects don't start to taper off after a week, then I would re-check with the vet. I'm assuming this is a one-shot dosage, though if the condition persists more than a week, then I suppose another dosage might be warranted. In any event, you could give them some small snacks if it's short term just to keep them quiet(er), but that'll probably set-back the diet for the two.

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  • We have a couple of fountains and they sound TERRIBLE when they start to run low (the kitchen fountain can be heard through the whole house), so it's pretty easy to remember to keep them topped up. It is a one-shot dosage, and we've been putting small amounts of dry food in their puzzle when they get really insistent. Thanks! – Zaralynda Jun 2 '14 at 19:53
  • @Zaralynda - I think we have the same fountains! If it's for a week and the demands taper off, shouldn't really be a worry. – John Cavan Jun 2 '14 at 20:24

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