What is Cyclosporine for Cats Used For?

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. March 29, 2021
What is Cyclosporine for Cats Used For?

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In this AnimalWised article, we will talk about cyclosporine for cats, a drug known for its anti-inflammatory effects. It is used to combat different pathologies which cause inflammation as a symptom. Since it will act on the immune system in various ways, it is essential that we only administer it to a cat under veterinary supervision and with a valid prescription.

Next, we will explain everything you need to know about cyclosporine for cats. This includes how the drug should be given, in which cases it is not suitable and, above all, what side effects we might expect if the cat has an adverse reaction.


  1. What is cyclosporine for cats?
  2. Why is cyclosporine given to cats?
  3. Cyclosporine for cats dosage
  4. Contraindications of cyclosporine for cats
  5. Side effects of cyclosporine in cats

What is cyclosporine for cats?

Cyclosporine is a drug that is included in the group of immunomodulatory agents, as it has the ability to influence the immune system. Specifically, it works by increasing or decreasing its response. It has a selective immunosuppressive effect, since it affects T lymphocytes, cells that are formed in the bone marrow and belong to the immune system.

Cyclosporine in cats has an anti-inflammatory and antipruritic effect. It influences the production of different substances that are associated with inflammation, something similar to NSAIDs for cats. This action is relatively rapid. Even in oral administration when fasting, it reaches the maximum concentration in the blood within 1-2 hours. It is metabolized in the liver.

Inflammation in cats can appear on almost any body part, something we investigate in these articles on why a cat's nose is swollen and why a cat's gums are red and swollen.

Why is cyclosporine given to cats?

Cyclosporine is frequently used for the treatment of a disease known as chronic allergic dermatitis. This pathology usually presents with itching, skin inflammation, irritation (especially in the head and neck), symmetrical hair loss, etc. These signs can be compatible with other skin diseases, for example parasitosis, infections, food allergies and others.

This is why it is essential that a veterinarian makes the diagnosis and determines the need to administer cyclosporine, rather than us medicating our own cat. In addition, cyclosporine is only one of the tools used to treat this medical condition, so the veterinarian will have to prescribe other drugs and different measures to address the issues. These may include drugs to relieve other symptoms such as itching.

Cyclosporine and its anti-inflammatory functions can be used for cats in the following cases:

  • Hives
  • Asthma
  • Granulomas
  • Stomatitis
  • Certain eye disorders
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia

Cyclosporine for cats dosage

To calculate the dosage of cyclosporine for cats, it is essential to accurately determine the weight of the cat. The dose varies depending on the disease to be treated. At least as a starting treatment,about 7mg per kg of weight to be administered once a day is recommended.

Cyclosporine for cats treatment is usually prolonged, with administration lasting several weeks. The plan is to reduce the frequency and dosage as the cat improves. Eventually, it can be administered every two, three or even four days, but this assessment is made by the veterinarian. It’s important to bear in mind that sometimes the cat relapses and the treatment has to be started over again.

Cyclosporine is a solution for oral use and usually administered directly into the mouth or mixed into food. In this case, this should only be a small amount of food to ensure that the cat ingests the entire dose. Transdermal administration is another option, but is not recommended for cats because absorption is reduced. Cyclosporine is also available in the form of eye drops for use in ocular conditions in cats . Both atopic cyclosporine and ophthalmic cyclosporine are available.

Contraindications of cyclosporine for cats

Not all cats will be able to enjoy the benefits of cyclosporine. There are some cases in which this drug is not recommended, for instance:

  • Individuals suspected of being allergic or hypersensitive to this active ingredient
  • Cats with leukemia or immunodeficiency viruses. If this information is unknown, the cat should be tested before giving cyclosporine.
  • Cats with diabetes.
  • Kittens less than two months old.
  • Cats weighing less than 2.3 kg, except at the veterinarian’s discretion.
  • Pregnant or lactating cats. The risks and benefits of its use will be evaluated by the veterinarian before making a decision, since there are no studies available on the safety of cyclosporine in these situations. There are reports of cyclosporine crossing the placental barrier and being excreted in milk.
  • Cats that have received a vaccine in the previous two weeks. Conversely, cats should not be vaccinated during cyclosporine treatment or within two weeks after the end of treatment as it interferes with the efficacy of vaccination.

Finally, if the cat is being treated with any other drug, the veterinarian will have to evaluate possible interactions.

What is Cyclosporine for Cats Used For? - Contraindications of cyclosporine for cats

Side effects of cyclosporine in cats

Cyclosporine inhibits T lymphocytes, decreasing the body’s ability to respond to attack. This is related to an increase in the incidence of malignant tumors. For this reason, cyclosporine should not be given without a veterinarian's advice. This same professional should also make a thorough evaluation of the advantages and benefits of prescribing it. If you do decide to use it, you must make regular checks and go to the vet immediately if the cat has enlarged lymph nodes. We can see this if the cat has swelling in their neck.

In addition, if the cat is toxoplasmosis negative and becomes infected during treatment with cyclosporine, then it can develop acutely. In these cases they can become seriously ill with the disease. To avoid this, cats should not be allowed outdoors or to eat meat or raw prey during treatment.

Other adverse effects of cyclosporine in cats include:

  • Gastrointestinal problems (especially vomiting and diarrhea)
  • Increased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Hypersalivation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Gingival hyperplasia (increase in gum size)
  • Signs compatible with diabetes (excessive urination or water consumption)
  • Weight loss and decreased appetite

If weight loss is apparent, the cat should be weighed regularly to prevent the problem become excessive that could lead to health problems. Some of these adverse effects may resolve themselves without ending the treatment, but for any other cases, a veterinarian should be consulted before pausing or modifying treatment.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What is Cyclosporine for Cats Used For?, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.

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What is Cyclosporine for Cats Used For?