Interferon is a very complex drug used in veterinary medicine as a supplement in the treatment strategy of non-cancerous cases of feline leukemia. It is also a treatment option for certain types of cancers and viral infections in cats and dogs.

Interferon is presently only administered to animals on an experimental basis because the drug has not been fully tested for veterinary use and can be expensive.

Interferon For Treating Leukemia in Animals

Interferon’s Mechanism of Action

Interferon has been found to offer both anticancer and antiviral properties, but the true mechanism of action for this medication is currently unknown. Studies indicate that Interferon affects the DNA and proteins of certain cells. The drug also seems to have the ability to manipulate the body’s immune system.

General Precautions With Interferon

Since Interferon is an experimental drug in the veterinary medicine field, not many animals are treated with it. However, some patients should never receive this potent medication. These include patients with a known allergy to it, as well as those with pre-existing heart disease, lung disease, autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders or herpes virus.

Interferon Drug Interactions

Little is known as to what extent other drugs may interact with Interferon, but this medication should not be administered alongside other antiviral medications. To reduce the risk of a potential interaction, it is important to discuss the patient’s drug regimen with the veterinarian prior to Interferon treatment.

Interferon Side Effects

The most common potential side effects attributed to Interferon include loss of appetite, vomiting and nausea. The drug has been shown to cause a reduction in the body’s blood platelet count and in some patients, it has been known to increase the possibility of liver or nervous system damage.

How Is Interferon Administered?

Interferon can be obtained with a prescription from a licensed veterinarian. It is available from compounding pharmacies in either oral or injection form. If the veterinarian chooses to use the injection option, administration will usually occur at the veterinary office or other animal care facility.

Author: Giano Panzarella

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