Azathioprine Side Effects in Dogs


According to, azathioprine is an immunosuppressive drug that is chemically related to some anti-cancer chemotherapy agents. Azathioprine is used to suppress cells involved in autoimmune diseases, such as lupus. It interferes with the metabolism of immune and antibody-producing cells known as lymphocytes.

Common Side Effects

  • Azathioprine can cause lethargy, fever, reluctance to move, and loss of appetite. Common side effects like these affect all animals taking the drug, including dogs. Dogs tend to be more reluctant to move than other animals and tire more often on azathioprine.

Less Common Side Effects

  • Transient diarrhea or loose stools and vomiting, which can signal pancreatitis, are less common symptoms that can occur with the use of azathioprine. Dogs also have an increased risk of infection and neoplasia, which is the abnormal proliferation of cells.

Other Problems

  • Some dogs may be more likely to develop leukopenia (decrease in the white blood cells found in the blood), anemia, thrombocytopenia (presence of very few platelets in the blood), and hepatotoxicosis (accumulation of copper in the liver). Approximately 10 percent of dogs lack the proper enzymes necessary to metabolize azathioprine. All animals treated with this drug should receive regular blood tests to monitor numbers of blood cells.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Aly Tyler/iStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • Medrol Side Effects in Dogs

    Methyl prednisolone, marketed by under the brand name Medrol, can help dogs suffering from various disorders, but the drug has the potential...

  • Canine Polyarthritis Treatment

    Canine polyarthritis refers to inflammation in dogs that can affect multiple joints. It is often immune-mediated, or related to the immune system....

  • What Is Pemphigus in Dogs?

    Pemphigus is a group of skin diseases that attack healthy skin cells in dogs. They occur due to an improperly functioning immune...

  • Immunosuppressant Drugs in Dogs

    The body's immune system kills infectious agents such as bacteria or viruses after they enter the body. Sometimes the immune system becomes...

  • Cytoxan Side Effects in Dogs

    Cytoxan is a prescription drug that treats immune-mediated disorders and various forms of cancer in canines. It's a nitrogen mustard derivative.

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make an Elevated Dog Feeder

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!