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Immune-mediated Polyarthritis

By: Dr. Douglas Brum

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Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not improve rapidly. Administer all medications as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet.

Even after your pet has gone into remission, careful observation is required. The signs of polyarthritis may recur even while on medication. Early recognition improves the chances of a second remission. This is especially important as immunosuppressive drugs are decreased.

Routine follow-up veterinary examinations are important while your pet is being treated. Subtle changes in joint size, shape or conformation may be noted.

Monthly blood tests are required (CBC and platelet counts) if your pet is receiving Imuran. The tests may be required more frequently if receiving Cytoxan.

If your pet is experiencing unusual behavior, it may be a side effect from the prednisone. The most common side effects include: increased thirst, urination and appetite; panting; lethargy; weakness; and muscle atrophy. Depending on the severity of these signs, the dosage may need to be adjusted and/or additional immunosuppressive drugs started.

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