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J Small Anim Pract. 2012 Apr;53(4):217-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5827.2011.01190.x.

Primary care veterinary usage of systemic glucocorticoids in cats and dogs in three UK practices.

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Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Herts AL9 7TA.



To describe systemic glucocorticoid usage in cats and dogs by three primary care -veterinary practices in England and to ascertain risk factors for clinical use. To evaluate consistency of prescribing patterns across clinics. To validate a merged database of primary veterinary clinical data as a functional tool for clinical epidemiological research.


A merged database was established from clinical data on 31,273 cat and dog consultations with pharmacotherapy from three veterinary practices in England. Descriptive statistics described systemic glucocorticoid drug use in cats and dogs while mixed-effects logistic regression modelling evaluated risk factors. Individual clinic usage was compared.


Overall, 1877 (16·68%) cat consultations and 2913 (14·55%) dog consultations resulted in systemic glucocorticoid therapy. Cats received higher parenteral (P<0·0001) and oral (P<0·0001) dose levels than dogs. Pathophysiological indication, age, skin condition, sex and clinic attended were significant risk factors for glucocorticoid prescription. Clinics varied widely in their odds of systemic glucocorticoid usage (P<0·0001).


An evidence base for systemic glucocorticoid prescribing by primary care small animal practices in England is provided. Clinic attended was a significant risk factor, indicating wide variation in prescribing patterns between clinics. A merged primary care veterinary clinical database was effective for epidemiological research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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