Azathioprine for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Alternatives – Relievet

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Azathioprine for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Alternatives

James Davis PharmD - June 6th 2022


Table Of Contents

  • What is Azathioprine?
  • What is it used for in dogs?
  • Is it safe for dogs?
  • Azathioprine for Dogs Side Effects
  • Azathioprine Alternatives

What is Azathioprine?

Azathioprine (Imuran) is a drug used to suppress the immune system to help treat certain auto-immune disorders.

Azathioprine comes as a tablet in strengths of 50mg, 75mg, and 100mg.

What is it used for in dogs?

Azathioprine is used to treat auto-immune disorders in dogs. These include arthritis, certain auto-immune blood disorders, auto-immune hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and other auto-immune disorders. 

Is it safe for dogs?

When used at appropriate doses under the guidance of a veterinarian, azathioprine is considered safe in that the benefits outweigh the risks. Azathioprine is toxic and should not be handled with bare skin. Use gloves.

Azathioprine reduces the body’s immune response, meaning that a dog may be at higher risk of infection while on the drug. It’s critical to use the exact dose the veterinarian prescribes.

Azathioprine for Dogs Side Effects

Azathioprine has many side effects as the drug is toxic. These include gut side effects like vomiting and diarrhea, lack of appetite, rashes, hair loss, tiredness or fatigue, bruising or bleeding, pancreatitis, liver toxicity, increased risk of infections, and bone marrow suppression.

Azathioprine Alternatives

Azathioprine and corticosteroids like prednisone are commonly used as a last resort after everything else has failed or stacked on top of other drugs at low doses to help them continue working. For example, arthritis is commonly treated with NSAIDs or other medicines. Still, if it's rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system is attacking the dog's body – this is not something NSAIDs directly treat. Your vet may advise taking the dog off an NSAID and switching to azathioprine and a steroid or taking the dog off the NSAID and switching. Each case is different.

CBD as an Alternative
A high-quality CBD extract may help treat some symptoms of the same disorders that azathioprine treats – particularly arthritis. Using a CBD extract from a quality supplier may reduce the need to use as high a dose of toxic drugs like azathioprine if the dog's symptoms are well controlled at lower doses.

CBD is not a likely alternative for treating blood disorders or certain other auto-immune disorders, although it may help your dog's discomfort, anxiety, and pain.

A hallmark of a quality CBD supplier is the provision of third-party laboratory analysis of the product they sell lot by lot. That lets a pet owner know what is or isn't in the bottle and ensures that their dog gets the correct dose of the right substances.

Does CBD Work For Dogs With Cancer?

Finding a natural way to fight cancer could dramatically change your dogs life and yours. Could CBD be part of the solution?

Fortunately, there is research on CBD for Cancer. This article breaks it down and draws from our decades of experience to help you find out if CBD can help your dog.

Find Out Now

Biscuit's Story

To say Biscuit lived an active life would be an understatement. Unfortunately, at the age of 10, she started to limp after trips to the dog park. It broke my heart to see her in pain doing what she loved the most.

I started feeding her a raw food diet and added high-quality supplements to ensure her nutritional needs were met. Unfortunately, while she loved the food, the limping persisted.

I decided to go to the vet. They quickly diagnosed her with osteoarthritis and prescribed a drug to help. Her limping stopped, and she was in less visible pain. For the first week, it seemed that this was the solution.

A few days later, it was to my absolute shock that she...

Read Her Story

We hope this information helps your pet family live a more natural life. We believe in great content and word of mouth, not intrusive ads and popups. If you feel the same way, you can find our products here

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