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Prednisone Side Effects

December 10th, 2007, 11:23 AM

I am Terri and my golden retriever, Moki, has just been diagnosed with IBD. The vet wants him on prednisone - I'm wondering about side effects and whether or not working with his diet alone will be enough help. Thanks!

December 10th, 2007, 11:52 AM
Hi, Terri. Welcome to the board.

IBD can sometimes be controlled by diet alone or by diet and a very low dose of prednisone.

We had a setter that developed IBD at the tender age of 1 year. Once diagnosed he was put on prednisone to get the IBD under control and we began weaning him off the steroids as soon as possible over the next few months. (Evan's IBD was mediated by I recall, there are a few different forms of the disease...and success with diet control may depend upon the type? Don't know for sure...)

Anyway, we were able to wean him off and maintain him with hydrolyzed-protein foods.

The side effects of prednisone are many and can be severe, which is why the ultimate goal is to get Moki off it as soon as possible. The immediate side effects are increased water uptake and urination (as frequently as every 90 min to 2 hours), agitation, and increased appetite (which is useful for IBD patients who often lose their appetites, but which can drive you crazy because they'll eat themselves sick if you let them). Keeping weight on an IBD patient is difficult anyway, but it also seemed like the steroid revved up the metabolism and made it even harder. Once Evan was off the pred, he put on a few pounds.

Long term effects include shutting down the adrenal cortex, which is responsible for much of the endocrine function in an animal. I suspect other long-term effects include the same things people on pred are cautioned about--osteoporosis and cataracts...but I'm not positive those also occur in animals... Your vet should be able to tell you for sure what to watch for and whether they suggest routine tests to check for problems.

Despite the adverse effects, prednisone can literally be a life-saver in a crisis.

Good luck with your Moki! :fingerscr :goodvibes: IBD is a tough disease to manage, but it can be done!

December 10th, 2007, 11:58 PM
Thanks for the info - for now, we have decided to forego the prednisone and have Moki on a diet of lamb and rice only. Moki had one episode of vomiting blood a week and a half ago which precipitated endiscopy and the diagnosis. Now he seems just fine wanting to run and play like always. He is only four and I am hoping that we can control the IBD with diet alone. Our vet is supportive of this, but we are sure keeping an eye on him to make sure he is not showing more symptoms. We have the pred. on hand to use if and when any more vomiting or blood in the stool occurs.

How is Evan now? I hope he's great! Thanks a million for taking the time to tell me about Evan.

December 11th, 2007, 08:58 AM
Unfortunately, Evan died of complications from the IBD and other conditions at the age of 3. :sad: But his onset was quite severe and occurred when he was extremely young. I've known other dogs that developed IBD in midlife who were able to live with it for many years.

I saw your other thread--it's good that you have such a proactive vet and were able to get the diagnosis so quickly. :thumbs up It took us longer with Evan.

I'll also reply about the diet in your other thread.