Prednisone for Dogs, Side Effects of Taking Prednisone, Alternatives

Prednisone for dogs is used for a number of medical autoimmune conditions – it is actually a corticosteroid that is manufactured synthetically.

The medication actually starts as ‘inactive’ and only becomes ‘active’ when it enters the dog’s body where the Liver converts it to being ‘active’.

Prednisone is used to suppress the immune system and is often prescribed to reduce inflammation.

Read on to learn the side effects,  withdrawal symptoms, more about what it is used for, it’s dosage and any possible alternatives…

Prednisone for Dogs – What is it used for?

Prednisone (a corticosteroid) is treated to suppress your dog’s immune system. It is often prescribed for the following…

  • If your dog is experiencing serious bouts of frantic itching then the medication might be prescribed to reduce the itching and it’s associated itching.
  • Kidney problems are often treated with Prednisone.
  • If your dog has experienced an allergic reaction especially Anaphylactic shock where emergency treatment is needed fast then the medication might be prescribed to reduce the swelling and associated symptoms – including shock.
  • The medication is often prescribed for endocrine disorders – this word simply refers to problems centered around the hormonal glandular system – including Addisons Disease.
  • Asthma is another condition sometimes treated with this medication – especially if it is as a result of allergic reactions.
  • Prednisone is used to treat a condition known as autoimmune disease – this is when a dog’s antibodies start being produced which attack their own tissue.
  • IBD is often treated with this medication – (often referred to as Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease) – (this is different to Canine Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
  • If your dog has had an organ transplant the medication might be prescribed to stop your dog’s body from rejecting the transplanted organ.
  • If your dog has had trauma to the Spinal Chord Prednisone might be prescribed to to treat this.
  • Dog Hives is another condition that might benefit from the corticosteroid.
  • If your dog has developed a Tumor then it might be prescribed to help with it’s treatment.
  • Canine Rheumatoid Arthritis is another health problem that Prednisone can alleviate – it can also help with other orthopedic problems and issues.

Prednisone for Dogs – Dosage

The dosage for Prednisone for dogs is vitally important for a vet to get accurate as the wrong dose could be fatal. The medication can also have some very nasty side effects and this needs to be taken into consideration before you choose to use it on your pooch. Although Prednisone can be used on humans too the dosage is completely different – never ever purchase this medication on the Internet – as with all medications you should only use this Corticosteroid after it has been prescribed by your dog’s vet.

When Prednisone is prescribed it needs to be very closely monitored due to the potential side effects that it can cause. The normal dosage for this medication is 0.1 to 0.3 mg for every pound your dog weighs (this is the normal dosage for dog’s that are experiencing inflammatory problems) – it is normally prescribed to be given twice a day for as long as your vet feels is necessary.

In conditions that are affecting your dog’s autoimmune system the dosage is slightly different with 1 mg up to 3 mg – this maybe prescribed to be given three times a day. Prednisone for dogs can lead to withdrawal symptoms – we have highlighted some of the symptoms below…

Prednisone for Dogs – Withdrawal Symptoms

As mentioned this medication can lead to some withdrawal symptoms after the medication has stopped being taken. It is considered so serious that if the medication is stopped without  a vet being consulted it can be fatal. The main reason for this is that when Prednisone is prescribed it has the affect of decreasing the cortisol produced by a dog’s body. Cortisol is produced by a dog’s adrenal glands – (Cortisol is actually a naturally occurring steroid). Consequently if the medication is suddenly stopped it can cause a major problem on the Adrenal Glands – mainly as a direct consequence of a lack of Cortisol.

Prednisone withdrawal symptoms can include…

  • Behavioral changes
  • Breathing problems
  • Your dog might lose his appetite
  • Your pooch might appear lethargic and tired
  • Your dog might also appear weak and in some cases vomiting might occur.

Prednisone for Dogs – Side Effects

The side effects of this medication can include a variety of unsettling symptoms.

1. Predinsone for dogs can cause excessive thirst and hunger – which can of course lead to your dog putting on weight as he wants to eat more.
2. Diabetes can be caused by the medication.
3. Gastrointestinal problems – especially vomiting, diarrhea and stomach problems.
4. Skin problems – your dog’s skin might start to thin – hair loss is another symptom associated with Prednisone.
5. Behavioral problems and changes in your dog’s behavior might occur – aggression and fear might occur as a result of the medication.
6.Cushings Disease – is one of the most serious side effects – this condition is a result of an over dose.
7. Ulcers might occur in the digestive tract
8. The Pancreas might become inflamed.
9. Elevated liver enzymes is another side effect
10. Polyuria – excessive urination.
11. Polydipsia – excessive thirst
12. Polyphagia – eating too much
13. Excessive panting
14. Lipidemia – excessive lipids in the blood.
15. Muscle wastage might occur making it difficult for your dog to walk.

Prednisone alternatives can include antihistamines sometimes used in conjunction with fatty acids.