Dexamethasone is a synthetic corticosteroid with approximately 25 times the anti-inflammatory potency of naturally occurring cortisol. Corticosteroids such as dexamethasone are important in normal protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and for their role in controlling inflammation. These drugs have both strong beneficial effects and a definite potential to cause negative side-effects. Dexamethasone commonly is used in both small- and large-animal veterinary medicine. It may be given by injection, inhalation, orally, or topically. Preparations for topical use may include other active ingredients such as antibiotics, antifungals, or miticides.


Dexamethasone (brand names: Azium®, Dexasone®, Decadron®, Dexium®, Dexameth-a-Vet®, Dex-a-vet®, Maxidex®, Neofordex®, Hexadrol®) is a glucocorticoid steroid medication used to treat many inflammatory conditions, patients with adrenal gland disease, and patients with immune-mediated diseases. It can also be used to diagnose Cushing’s disease (see handout “Dexamethasone Suppression Tests” for information on this diagnostic use of dexamethasone). Its use in cats, dogs, other small mammals, and large animals to treat inflammatory conditions and other conditions is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their direction may be significantly different from those on the label.

Dexamethasone is a powerful anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive drug that can treat several conditions in dogs. It’s more powerful than prednisone and 30 times stronger than the cortisol steroid hormones that dogs produce naturally in their adrenal glands. This drug is prescribed for dogs who suffer from allergies or arthritis, as well as other conditions caused by the immune system’s overactive response to perceived threats

Uses Of Dexamethasone For Dogs

Dexamethasone can be used to treat many issues in dogs. As an immunosuppressant, it can treat conditions where the immune system overreacts to perceived threats, thus causing inflammation and other problems.

It can also ease pain caused by inflammation in certain conditions, such as arthritis.

Here are some medical conditions in dogs that may be treated with dexamethasone:

  • Allergies
  • Swelling from inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Adrenal problems like Addison’s disease
  • Systemic lupus
  • Skin disease
  • Colitis and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Respiratory issues
  • Liver disorders
  • Hematologic disorders
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Nervous system disease
  • Tumor growth
  • Shock
  • Nephrotic syndrome

Dosage Of Dexamethasone For Dogs

The following is a guideline for general use of this drug in dogs and must not replace your veterinarian’s advice for your individual dog. The usual dosage of dexamethasone for dogs varies based on the condition that’s being treated. For instance, treatment of inflammatory condition usually requires a dose of 0.1 to 0.3 mg per pound of body weight twice a day.

As an immunosuppressant, on the other hand, the dosage is higher — usually 1 to 3 mg per pound up to three times a day. Other conditions may also require a dosage of anywhere from 0.1 to 3 mg per pound. Of course, you must follow your vet’s instructions carefully. This is a powerful drug, so it’s easy to overdose on it, which can cause hormonal or metabolic changes that could result in death. Do not stop treatment unless your vet tells you to do so, even if symptoms improve. Your vet can also adjust the dosage based on your dog’s needs.


  • Drug Name: Dexamethasone
  • Common Name: Azium®, Voren®, Pet-Derm®, Dex-a-Vet®, Dexameth-a-Vet®
  • Drug Type: Glucocorticoid
  • Used For: Inflammation
  • Species: Dogs, Cats
  • Administered: Tablets, Injectable
  • How Dispensed: Prescription only
  • Available Forms: 0.25 mg, 0.75 mg, 1 mg, 1.5 mg, 2 mg, 4 mg & 6 mg tablets
  • FDA Approved: Yes

Prices of Dexamethasone For Dogs

$15.00 – $44.00

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