ABSTRACT

Treatment with high corticosteroid dosages for steroid-responsive meningitis-arteritis (SRMA) is correlated with severe adverse effects and worse quality of life. In order to improve immunosuppression and decrease dosage and duration of glucocorticoid treatment, a second immunosuppressive drug is commonly used in most of the immune-mediated diseases. The objective of this retrospective study was to evaluate the efficacy, tolerability, and occurrence of relapse for the combination of prednisolone and azathioprine. All dogs received azathioprine 2 mg/kg q 24 hr for 1 mo and then 2 mg/kg every other day for 2 mo; prednisolone was started at an immunosuppressive dosage and tapered off gradually during a mean of 3 mo. Twenty-six dogs met inclusion criteria. Twenty-one dogs (81%) were in clinical remission with no relapse observed within the 2 yr follow-up period. Treatment was well tolerated in all dogs and side effects were most of the time mild and self-limiting. The relapse rate (19%) was lower than most published rates. A prednisolone and azathioprine combination appeared to be effective for primary treatment of dogs with SRMA and allows a quicker tapering in prednisolone dosage, a decrease in long-term side effects of steroids, a shorter duration of treatment, and a low relapse rate.

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