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As with any medication, steroids also cause side effects. The most common include lethargy, skin issues and increased hunger and thirst, resulting in frequent drinking and flooding the litter box. It's possible that your vet might prescribe a particular steroid because your cat needs an appetite stimulant, so the drug does double duty. Serious side effects include immune system suppression, which increases the risk of Fluffy being unable to fight off a disease or infection. In rare cases, steroids cause ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract. Long-term use can cause urinary tract or upper respiratory infections, as well as diabetes. Make sure your vet informs you of any possible side effects when she prescribes a steroid for your cat.
The most commonly diagnosed cause of pleural effusion in cats is chylothorax . This can be caused by thoracic lymphangiectasia (swollen lymph vessels that leak chyle into the pleural space), congestive heart failure, obstruction of the cranial vena cava (the major vein that returns blood to the heart from the front of the body), cancer, fungal infection, feline heartworm infection, diaphragmatic hernia, lung lobe torsion, or trauma. In many cases, the exact cause of chylothorax remains unknown, and this condition is referred to as idiopathic chylothorax .