• Open Access

Pharmacokinetics and Clinical Efficacy of Cyclosporine Treatment of Dogs with Steroid-Refractory Inflammatory Bowel Disease


  • The study was performed at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Switzerland, and was presented as an oral abstract at the ACVIM Forum in Baltimore, 2005. The study was financially supported by a grant from Novartis Animal Health, Basel, Switzerland.

Dr.med.vet., Division of Small Animal Internal Medicine, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hawks-head Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, AL9 7TA United Kingdom; e-mail: kallenspach@rvc.ac.uk.


The usual treatment of dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) consists of administration of immunosuppressive doses of steroids. However, some dogs are refractory to steroid treatment and pose a significant challenge to the veterinarian. Because cyclosporine A (cyA) has been shown to be effective in steroid-resistant IBD in humans, the purpose of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetics and clinical efficacy of PO cyA treatment in dogs with steroid-refractory IBD (n = 14). All dogs were treated with cyA 5 mg/kg PO q24h for a period of 10 weeks. A clinical activity score was assigned to assess severity of clinical signs before and after treatment. The total number of infiltrating lymphocytes and T cells in duodenal biopsies were assessed before and after treatment in 9 dogs. In addition, serum concentration of cyA was measured in 8 dogs over a 24-hour period. Pharmacokinetic profiles in dogs with IBD were similar to those of healthy dogs. Improvement of clinical signs was observed in 12 of 14 dogs with IBD. Median clinical activity score after treatment with cyA was significantly reduced from a median score of 9 to a median score of 5 (P= 0.001). T cell numbers in duodenal biopsies were significantly decreased after treatment from a median plusmn; 95% range in the villous region of 28 (19–30) cells/10,000 μm2 before versus 7 (0–10)/10,000 μm2 after treatment, P= 0.01; and from a median ± 95% range number in the crypt region of 15 (6–23) cells/10,000 μm2 before versus 4 (0–9)/10,000 μm2 after treatment, P= 0.02, implying T cell lysis as a possible mechanism of action. In conclusion, based on this small study, cyA appears to be an effective alternative drug in dogs with IBD that are refractory to immunosuppressive doses of steroids.