What is Zycortal for Dogs?

Dog Medications

Zycortal suspension is an injectable drug used to treat dogs with Addison’s disease. Addison’s disease, also called hypoadrenocorticism, is an illness that causes the adrenal glands of dogs to produce inadequate levels of corticosteroid hormones. Corticoid is a hormone that balances energy flow, stress response, water balance, and body temperature in dogs. There are two types of hypoadrenocorticism; primary hypoadrenocorticism and secondary hypoadrenocorticism. If the condition is realized and treatment is given, the dog can survive and live happily. If it is not treated, your dog might succumb to the infections. Zycortal is used in the long run to replace the missing corticoid hormone. The drug is approved for use by The Agency Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP). The EU also approves it for use.

Mechanism of action of Zycortal

Zycortal, also called Desoxycorticosterone pivalate, is a synthetically produced steroid hormone similar to corticoid hormone. The drug works to ensure that the body retains enough water. Sufficient water is essential in maintaining sodium and eliminating potassium. Dogs with Addison’s disease have insufficient levels of corticoid hormone in the blood, and Zycortal is a suspension that replaces the missing hormone. According to Dechra, several studies and experiments prove that Zycortal is an effective drug. In an experiment that involved 152 dogs with Addison’s disease, 113 dogs were injected with Zycortal suspension, and 39 dogs were administered a similar medication which contains Desoxycorticosterone pivalate, in the form of an injection under the muscle. The dogs received corticoid hormone through the mouth. The results from the experiment conclude that Zycortal is the most effective way to treat Addison’s disease. 84% of the dogs that received Zycortal injection had improved medically, and they had normal sodium and potassium levels.

How is Zycortal Administerred?

Zycortal is available in the form of a suspension released through an injection. It is classified as a prolonged-release suspension for injection. Prolonged-release is a phenomenon that describes a drug whose active substance is released in small doses after receiving an injection. If your dog vomits, stop the medication and immediately consult your vet. You should not give the medication on an empty stomach. Ensure that your dog has had something to eat at least an hour before taking the medication. Once the desired results are achieved, ensure that you finish the prescribed medication. Zycortal is a drug that you can only obtain through a medical prescription.


Zycortal is a drug administered through an injection. According to Ema.Europa, the injection is given under the skin, and the recommended dosage is 2.2mg/kg. You should take your dog to the vet after 25 days from the first injection for evaluation. The dosage after 25 days will depend on sodium and potassium in the blood. Suppose your dog is medically average and has the standard ratio of sodium and potassium. In that case, you should adjust the dosage based on the ratio of sodium and potassium on day ten. Suppose your dog is medically normal but has a sodium and potassium ratio greater than 32 after 25 days. In that case, you should adjust the ratio based on your day ten readings or prolong your dosage interval. If your dog is not medically fit and has abnormal sodium and potassium ratios on day 25, you should adjust the dosage of prednisone/prednisolone. It would be of help if you gave your dog the correct dosage. The interval between treatments will depend on your dog’s response to the medication and the sodium and potassium electrolytes in the blood. If you notice that your dog is improving, do not stop giving the medication but continue until you finish the required prescription. For further information on the dosage and prescription, read the leaflet and consult your vet.

What if I skip a dosage?

Consult your vet if you miss a dose. In normal circumstances, it is advisable that you give the missed dose as soon as you remember, and then you can proceed with the rest of the prescribed doses. If it is near the next dosage, skip it and administer it the next scheduled time. It is dangerous to give your dog an extra dose or two doses simultaneously.


Store in a tight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. You should store the medication at a controlled room temperature of 25 degrees Celsius with excursions between fifteen and thirty degrees Celsius. Do not freeze the drug. Use within 120 days from when it is open. If your vet makes a unique formulation for your dog, be sure to follow the recommended storage instructions and note the product’s expiry date.

Signs that your cat needs Zycortal

Zycortal is medicine for treating Addison’s disease in dogs. How do you know that your dog needs Zycortal? You need to monitor your dog for any signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease and consult with your vet if Zycortal is the correct medicine to use. Addison’s disease is a life-threatening illness, but it is treatable if it is discovered early, and your dog will have an expected lifespan. The disease occurs if your dog’s adrenal glands fail to produce sufficient hormones used in the body. The adrenal gland produces aldosterone, which regulates the body’s internal operations. Insufficient aldosterone production makes your dog’s body deteriorate, which leads to serious health complications. According to Dailymed, the cause of Addison’s disease in dogs is unknown, but most doctors suspect the disease is a result of the autoimmune process or an infection of the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland can be infected by metastatic tumor, infarction, hemorrhage, and granulomatous disease. Addison’s disease can attack any dog, whether it is a pure or a mixed breed. However, breeds like great Danes, standard poodles, Portuguese water dogs, west highland white terriers, bearded collies, and soft coated wheaten terriers and more vulnerable to the disease. Progressive Addison’s disease is hard to diagnose in dogs because it has various symptoms. It is a great imitator, but the general signs of the infection are loss of appetite, recurrent bouts of gastroenteritis, inability to respond to stress effectively, and a slow loss of body condition. The main symptoms include lethargy, depression, weight loss, anorexia (lack of appetite), alopecia (loss of hair), increased thirst, increased urination, shaking, dehydration, low temperature, a painful abdomen, irregular heartbeat, hypoglycemia and hyperpigmentation of the skin.

Pet Monitoring and Medication

It is good to monitor your dog when on any medication constantly. With Zycortal, you need to measure the level of sodium and potassium in the blood. You will need to reevaluate your dog approximately ten days after the first dose. Ten days after the first dosage is the best time to get the maximum concentration of desoxycorticosterone. If you notice that your dog is medically deteriorating, adjust the prednisone and prednisolone dosage and be on the lookout for other clinical signs. Be on the lookout for any side effects. Maintain constant communication with your vet to ensure that the medication is working correctly.

Drugs that you can use together with Zycortal

There are no known drug interactions with Zycortal. According to Chewy, Percorten-V has the same active ingredient, Desoxycorticosterone pivalate, as Zycortal, but the two cannot be used interchangeably. If you use any drugs, supplements, vitamins, or herbal medicines, consult with your doctor.

What to do in case of an emergency

In the case of an emergency like an adverse reaction or an overdose, do not hesitate to call your vet immediately. If your doctor is not available or is far away, read the instructions given in the emergency facility and follow the procedures outlined.

Side Effects of the drug

Like any other drug, your dog is prone to showing specific side effects from the first day of the injection. Recent studies and post-approval experience show your dog is likely to experience depression, lethargy, swelling on the injection site, panting, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, loss of appetite, weight gain, polyuria, polydipsia, inappropriate urination, shaking/ trembling, urinary tract infection, anaphylaxis and anemia. In extreme cases, some dogs succumb to these side effects. Zycortal suspension should be administered with extreme caution in dogs with edema, congestive heart disease, primary hepatic failure, and renal disease. It would be best to adequately hydrate dogs going through an Addisonian crisis before starting the medication.

Product Facts

According to Petvm, Zycortal has the following facts:

  • Drug name: Zycortal
  • Other names: Desoxycorticosterone pivalate
  • Manufacturer: Dechra Veterinary Products
  • Color: clear liquid
  • Drug type: for subcutaneous use in dogs only.
  • Purpose: treat Addison’s disease in dogs
  • Animals: dogs
  • Administration: injection
  • Shelf-life: 120 days after opening
  • Packaging: Pack sizes 100mg (4ml) and 25mg for Desoxycorticosterone pivilate
  • How it is dispensed: through medical prescription
  • Approved by FDA: Yes, only for dogs for NDC 17033-382-04

Risk Factors

Do not use this medication in dogs with edema, congestive heart disease, primary hepatic failure, or renal disease for safety purposes. It would be best to exercise extreme care on dogs with kidney disease. The injection is labeled for use in dos above two months in the European Union. However, no safety is established on dogs below four months. It would be best to exercise extreme care on pregnant and breastfeeding dogs because the safety of the medication on the above has not been tested. Other drugs such as vetoryl are considered safe for pregnant and nursing dogs. In this case, it is good to do a cost-benefit analysis. High dosages of Zycortal can cause depression, lethargy, swelling on the injection site, panting, and vomiting. It would help if you reduced the dosage of Zycortal for dogs with renal problems.

Cautions and Concerns

Once you purchase this drug, a leaflet contains the product summary and product characteristics. There are appropriate precautions and instructions that healthcare professionals and animal owners need to follow. If your skin or eyes come into contact with the drug, rinse off immediately with running water. According to Pubmed, if irritation occurs, seek medical advice immediately and present the leaflet to the doctor treating you. If you accidentally inject yourself, seek medical advice immediately and present the leaflet to the doctor treating you. Zycortal is a strong medication that causes pain and swelling at the injection site if wrongly injected. The drug can also cause adverse effects, which leads to infertility because it affects the male reproductive organ. Pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid giving the drug to their dogs because it can affect the normal development of the unborn baby or the newborn child.

How long will my dog need to have treatment?

Damage to the adrenal glands requires a lifetime of treatment because the damage inflicted on the adrenal gland is irreversible. Zycortal is an effective drug used for treatment. Once your dog is treated, it can live for a long.

Why does my dog need a daily tablet as well?

Zycortal is used to replace the missing hormone aldosterone in dogs suffering from Addison’s disease. You will also need to look for medication to replace the missing hormone cortisol. Cortisol will require you to give your dog a daily tablet.

How is Addison’s disease diagnosed?

It is not easy to diagnose Addison’s disease because the diagnosis is not straightforward. Addison is an imitator, which is often mistaken for other illnesses with similar symptoms. If your vet suspects the symptom, he will perform a physical examination and blood tests to measure the level of potassium and sodium.


Zycortal is one of the most effective prolonged-release suspensions approved by the FDA to treat Addison’s disease. It is manufactured and distributed by Dechra Veterinary Products. You can only purchase the medication from a vet hospital, so you can consult your veterinarian if you need one. It is advisable to constantly monitor your dog to check whether it has one or some of the symptoms of Addison disease, which is a great infection imitator. Once you realize that your dog is not behaving as expected, please consult your doctor on whether it is appropriate to administer Zycortal. Remember to exercise care and caution while your cat is on medication due to the side effects of the drug.

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