Published: 23 May 2019 | Last Updated: 23 May 2019 13:33:44

Glucocorticoids are widely used in primary care veterinary practices. This new VetCompassTM study used data from primary-care clinics in the UK and has revealed that the prevalence of systemic glucocorticoid usage is 6.2%. Staffordshire Bull Terriers were the most common breed treated and dogs older than eight years were the most commonly treated age group. The results of this study can provide a useful benchmark for glucocorticoid usage and highlight the benefits from ‘Big Data’ analyses.

The study identified 28,472 dogs treated with systemic glucocorticoids from a population of 455, 557 dogs attending VetCompass™ participating practices during 2013. Other key findings include:

  • Prednisolone represented the most frequently used oral preparation (90.0% of oral events).
  • Dexamethasone sodium phosphate was the most commonly used injectable agent (62.7% of injectable events).
  • The breeds most commonly treated were Staffordshire Bull Terriers (7.9%), labrador retrievers (7.3%), West Highland White Terriers (6.0%), Jack Russell Terriers (6.0%) and Cocker Spaniels (3.4%).
  • The most commonly treated bodyweight group was 10.01 – 20.0 kg (29.9%) followed by dogs weighing 10.0kg or less (29.7%).
  • Short-acting and intermediate-acting injectable systemic glucocorticoids were more commonly used compared with long-acting injectable systemic glucocorticoids.

Doaa Elkholly, VetCompassTM epidemiologist and lead researcher on this study, said: “This study represents the largest analysis to date of primary-care usage of systemic glucocorticoids in dogs in the UK. It provides benchmark results that can assist clinical audit in general practice. I would like to thank all the practices participating in VetCompass surveillance.”

RVC’s VetCompass™ project analyses anonymised veterinary clinical records from over 1,500 UK vet clinics to enhance understanding and improve the health and welfare of all companion animals.

The study, “Systemic glucocorticoid usage in dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK: prevalence and risk factors” is available in the Veterinary Record.

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