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dex-a-METH-a-sone - Pronunciation guide

Brand Names

  • Azium Powder
  • Dexaject
  • Dexamethasone Injection
  • Dexamethasone Solution
  • Dexasone
  • Dexium® Injection
  • Dexium® Tablets


Rx symbolDexamethasone is a potent anti-inflammatory with therapeutic action used in horses with acute musculoskeletal inflammations. It also provides supportive therapy in a wide variety of cases, such as heat exhaustion, influenza, laminitis, and retained placenta, provided that the primary cause is diagnosed and corrected. It is not species specific and a veterinarian should be involved in all treatments using dexamethasone. It is considered to be a better anti-inflammatory than many steroids. .


Veterinarians prescribe dexamethasone for use in treating bursitis, carpitis, osselets, tendonitis, myositis, and sprains in horses. In addition, it is used in supportive therapy in cases of fatigue and heat exhaustion, influenza, laminitis, and retained placenta, along with diagnosis and treatment of the primary cause.

Dosage and Administration

Prescription medicationDexamethasone
Method Dosage
(click row for calculator)
Concentration Period Duration
Oral (powder) 5-10 mg 1 10 mg/packet Daily NA
Intravenous or Intramuscular injection 2.5-5 mg 2 mg/ml Daily NA


  • Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.
  • Extra-label use of drugs in treating animals is allowable only by licensed veterinarians within the context of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship, and does not include drug use in treating animals by the layman (except under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian).
  • 1After first day, administer 5 mg powder per day.
  • Calculator is for educational purposes only. Follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding use of this, or any medication.

Side Effects

Side effects may include enzyme elevations, weight loss, anorexia, and laminitis. Some horses may show evidence of drowsiness or lethargy. Lethargy usually abates in approximately 24 hours.


Animals receiving dexamethasone should be under close observation. Signs of infection may be masked. Therapy with dexamethasone, as with any other potent corticosteroid, should be individualized according to the severity of the condition, anticipated duration of steroid therapy, and the animal's tolerance for steroid excess.

Except for emergency therapy, dexamethasone should not be used in horses with nephritis or Cushing's Syndrome, congestive heart failure, or viral infections, unless usage is determined to be appropriate by a veterinarian.

Clinical and experimental data have demonstrated that corticosteroids administered orally or parenterally to mares may induce the first stage of parturition when administered during the last trimester of pregnancy.

Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.

Use of dexamethasone would be prohibited in any drug-free competition. Check with the appropriate regulatory group.


Dexamethasone should not be used with any other corticosteroids without a veterinarians oversight.


Overdose may result in sodium retention, fluid retention, potassium loss, and weight gain. Drowsiness or lethargy may be more pronounced than noted in side effects.


Dexamethasone InjectionDexamethasone Injection

Dexamethasone TabletsDexamethasone Tablets


About the Author

EquiMed Staff

EquiMed staff writers team up to provide articles that require periodic updates based on evolving methods of equine healthcare. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional.