You may be familiar with prednisone if you have frequent allergies, but you may not be familiar with the fact that it can be prescribed for dogs. It can be hard to wrap your mind around the fact that there are things that can be taken by both animals and humans.
What is Prednisone?
Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid (a class of steroid hormones) that’s similar to an adrenal hormone that is naturally produced in healthy dogs. The fairly inexpensive drug can help suppress certain immune responses that lead to inflammation, and cause arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, and more. When administered, prednisone is processed by the liver and turned into prednisolone.
Prednisone is a great solution for many dogs, but it does tend to have certain side effects from time to time. These include:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased hunger (sometimes resulting in obesity)
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
Prednisone is a steroid that typically is administered in high doses in the beginning and then gradually decreases. It is important that you stay consistent in ensuring that your dog receives the proper doses and isn’t just forced to stop cold turkey. The steroid needs to gradually exit your dog’s body so he or she doesn’t become solely dependent on it.
Long Term Side Effects
Generally speaking, prednisone for dogs is only prescribed for a short time. If for any reason your vet does want your pet to use it longer, then frequent trips to visit the vet will be needed to make sure it isn’t having any serious effects. Potential side effects of prednisone in dogs involving long-term use can include:
- Development of Cushing’s Disease or Diabetes
- Changes in pet behavior
- Weakness or lethargy
- Heightened infection risk
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Inhibited growth
- Slowed healing
- Digestive tract ulceration
Prednisone has a number of different uses that it can be prescribed to help. It isn’t always the best choice for all dogs, but it is a great choice for many. It is typically prescribed to help with the following issues:
- Allergies and allergic reaction to medications or environmental causes
- Autoimmune disease
- Cushing’s disease
- Addison’s disease
- Orthopedic diseases that result in inflammation, i.e. arthritis
- Joint pain caused arthritis
- Skin diseases such as eczema, itchy skin, and dermatitis
- Anaphylactic shock
- Disorders of the central nervous system
- Liver conditions
- Cancers such as lymphomas (non-Hodgkin lymphoma)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Various Forms of Prednisone
It is typical that you may receive prednisone for your dog in a variety of forms. These include oral, chewable tablets, capsules, or liquid suspension. In most cases your dog will receive 2.5mg to every 10 lbs. of body weight. With liquid medicine this can obviously be difficult to regulate how much your dog receives, so many owners prefer the chewable tablets.
The Bottom Line
Prednisone can be a very useful solution to many issues’ dogs tend to suffer from. It is not a long-term solution. Prednisone is the safest when used as recommended and for short periods of time. Always visit your vet to learn more about this steroid and to make sure that it is a good fit for your dog.