Prednisone for Dogs and Cats

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Frequently Asked Questions

Prednisone reduces inflammation and is also used to suppress the actions of the immune system. It is used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as lupus or pemphigus, autoimmune hemolytic anemias, asthma and inhalant allergies (atopy), cancers, brain swelling, certain types of colitis, certain kidney diseases, and Addison's disease.

Prednisone is for dogs and cats.

  • Prednisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication that treats inflammation from allergies and more

  • Also helps treat auto-immune diseases, and certain types of brain swelling and cancers

  • It is used to treat Addison's disease, in which the body does not produce enough corticosteroids

  • Oral dosage regimen can be effectively individualized for your pet by your veterinarian

Prednisone has an effect on virtually every organ system in the body. Prednisone is a corticosteroid that blocks the production of substances that trigger allergic and inflammatory actions. Prednisone is used to modify the body's immune response. At lower doses it helps to reduce inflammation by decreasing the activity of certain cells and chemicals produced by the body that cause inflammation. At higher doses, it can suppress the immune system by decreasing the number of cells necessary for a proper immune response.

Prednisone is the common drug name and there are multiple generic equivalents available.

Prednisone is an oral tablet, given by mouth. It may be given with food to avoid stomach upset. Always follow the dosage instructions provided by your veterinarian. If you have difficulties giving the medication, contact your veterinarian. Dosage depends on the product used. Your veterinarian may recommend starting at a higher dose and then reducing the dose every few days to a week. If on long-term therapy, do not discontinue the drug abruptly. The dose needs to be tapered off over several days to weeks to allow the body to start making its own cortisol again. This medication should only be given to the pet for which it was prescribed.

When used to treat inflammatory conditions, such as allergies, the success rate is very good and improvements can be seen in several days. If the Prednisone is stopped, signs of the disease may reappear. Autoimmune diseases and cancers are more difficult to treat and the success rate will depend on the type and severity of the condition.

Prednisone comes in an oral tablet form.

Prednisone

Ask your veterinarian what dose will provide the most benefit while minimizing any side effects. Also discuss how long the treatment period will be and what type of outcome is expected. You and your veterinarian should talk about any other treatment options that are recommended for your pet.

Tell your veterinarian if your pet has diabetes; stomach ulcers; Cushings disease; a bacterial, viral or fungal infection; heart, liver or kidney disease; may be pregnant or is nursing, or if you intend to breed your dog.

Notify your veterinarian of any other medications or supplements your dog is taking. Also if your dog has had any reactions to previous medications.

Since dosage regimens differ greatly, if you miss a dose, contact your veterinarian to determine when to give the next dose.

Side effects can be minimized by tailoring the treatment regimen for your pet's specific condition. You will need to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the proper dose. If used long-term, this medication should not be stopped abruptly. The dose needs to be tapered over a course of time as determined by your veterinarian.

Not for use in animals with systemic fungal infections, some types of mange (mites), stomach ulcers, Cushing's disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or congestive heart failure. Do not use in pregnant animals. It may cause premature birth and birth defects in some animals. Predisone may stunt growth if used in young, growing animals or is given to nursing mothers.

Side effects are usually dose dependent. If side effects occur, contact your veterinarian, who may decrease the dosage, frequency, or type of corticosteroid.

The most common side effects are increased appetite, drinking, and urination. Your pet may have more "accidents" and need to go outside or use the litter box more often. Less common side effects include weight gain, panting, diarrhea, vomiting, and behavior changes.

Side effects of daily long-term use include muscle loss, weakness, and the development of diabetes or hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's disease). The typical signs of these diseases are increased thirst, urination, and appetite. Animals with Cushing's disease may also develop thin skin, a poor hair coat, and a "pot-belly." Side effects may also include activation or worsening of hypothyroidism or pancreatitis.

Immune system suppression may occur at high doses, making a pet more susceptible to infection. Contact your veterinarian if your pet has a fever (over 103° F), painful urination (a sign of urinary tract infection), tiredness, sneezing, coughing, or runny eyes.

Store at room temperature, in tight, light resistant, childproof container.

A short-term overdose is unlikely to cause problems. Chronic, or long-term, overdose is likely to cause signs of Cushing's disease or diabetes mellitus; both diseases commonly cause increased urinating, drinking, and eating. Abruptly stopping long-term treatment may cause signs of Addison's disease, including vomiting, weakness, collapse and sudden death. If you know or suspect your pet has had an overdose, or if you observe any of these signs in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Consult your veterinarian before using prednisone with vitamins and supplements or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl), deracoxib (Deramaxx), etodolac (EtoGesic), meloxicam (Metacam),firocoxib (Previcox), or tepoxalin (Zubrin). Discuss the use of prednisone with your veterinarian if it will be used along with insulin, modified live vaccines, phenytoin, phenobarbital, rifampin, cyclosporine, estrogens, erythromycin, or mitotane, amphotericin B, furosemide, or thiazide, since interactions may occur.

Prednisone may cause abnormal levels of hepatic enzymes, thyroid hormone, cholesterol, and potassium in the blood, and can affect many laboratory tests. Make sure your veterinarian knows your pet is taking Prednisone prior to any testing.