- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Can you tell me if Prednisone is safe

November 19th, 2004, 10:02 PM
Haven't posted here for a while, but my husband took our dog to the vet on Thurs. When he came home from work in the morning our dogs snout was very swollen so he took her right to the vet. She was at the vet for her shots in sept. and the vet said she appeared to have allergies as she had been scratching and some hair loss near her eyes was noticible. She said she could have an allergy shot, or we could wait and see what happened which we did. She appeared irritated on her snout and chewing at her feet, rubbing her face to varying degrees since that time. She would appear less irritated for a while, and then at times seem more irritated. This swelling on thurs alarmed my husband and when he took her to the vet she received a needle and was prescribed Prednisone (4- 5mg tablets for 3 days, then 3 pills for 7 days).

Also about a year ago she developed irritation on her nose and mouth area at which time the vet suspected plastic food dishes could be the source of irritation and we switched to stainless steel. This seemed to help. Also she has had approx. 1 ear infection a year and is 3 years old.

Anyway, when I arrived home that day her nose was way better than my husband had reported it to be in the morning after receiving the shot. When I saw that she was prescribed this medication, I recalled a conversation with a coworker and found out that his dog had been prescribed this medication and within 2 days of taking it could barely walk because he said it caused her muscles and tendons to weaken. When he went to a different vet he was told that the dog never should have been prescribed this medication. He said to me that I should take her off it.

I would appreciate if I could find out about this medication. My dog has only taken her first dose today before I found out this information, but I don't want to be over alarmed because of a horror story but I am concerned. She is a Bluetick coonhound 85 pounds. Of course I will be contacting my own vet as well but any information would be helpful so I know what I should be asking.

November 20th, 2004, 07:59 AM
Don't know if this helps but this is what I was able to find for you.

About the use of prednisone in canines
“Prednisone and other corticosteroids have a lot of different effects
on the digestive tract. It is well documented that glucocorticoids,
including prednisone, increase the risk of gastric ulcers. This
happens due to a combination of effects of the corticosteroids. The
stomach produces a protective mucous layer that helps it defend itself
against the acid it produces. Corticosteroids interfere with
production of this mucous layer because they suppress the growth of
the gastric mucin cells that produce the mucous. In addition,
corticosteroids inhibit the
production of mucous in the cells that remain. Eventually, this leads
to a thinning of the protective layer and a greater risk of ulcer. The
rate of ulceration has not been established in dogs, at least that I
know of, but it is about 5% in humans with long term use of
corticosteroids. This may be a little higher than in animals because
people probably have an increased susceptibility to Helicobacter
infections while on prednisone and the role of Helicobacter in dog and
cat ulcers is still unclear. Long term prednisone use also decreases
the absorption of minerals (especially calcium and iron) from the
digestive tract and increases the absorption of fat. It may increase
the risk of pancreatitis. On the plus side, glucocorticoids decrease
inflammation, which can be very beneficial in some gastrointestinal
disorders, such as lymphocytic/plasmacytic enteritis and they may
offer some protection against stress related ulcers.”


“It usually takes very long term use of prednisone or other corticosteroid
medications before side effects that might lead to kidney damage occur. If
prednisone is helpful for your dog's problem it is probably best to
go ahead and use it as your vet advises.”

November 20th, 2004, 05:38 PM
Yup, exactly. I hate the steroid because Ciara was on a daily dose for years, and she did not need them! And with other cortisteroids..

Now, for the real world. Prednisone is a wonderful drug when used with care. Your dog is on the "scale down" them up with a minor mg dose overtime, then decrease . This is a wise way of treating a temporary condition, trust your vet on this one.

My dog, Ciara, was on pred for a very long time, not even needing it. (I'll spare the details) After a constant use of pred for so long, yes, I am very worried. She is already showing signs of renal failure. She is on other medication that could be the culprit too. She is only 5 & 1/2 years old.

I do not blame prednisone. It is a a great drug to have around..there are many uses for it if used properly.

Don't fret...5 mg is nothing...cured my poison ivey with only 1 dose.

November 22nd, 2004, 07:29 AM

I have found your responses reassuring over the weekend and I will be talking to my vet today.

November 22nd, 2004, 08:30 AM
Just one more opinion if you are interested.

My dog Rosie is currently on prednisone tabs, 5 mg, 1 tab for 10 days, then 1 eod, then gradually off altogether. She gets her annual allergy rash until the frost hits, and I have to take her in and get the initial needle for a quick boost and relief, followed by a few weeks of pills. It gives her such relief and she is only on this regime once a year every fall.

The main side effect that I see is that she drinks gallons of water and pees incessantly for the duration of the treatment, but we can live with that. Must let her out several times a day and night or she will have an accident. But her skin clears up beautifully and she seems much less agitated and happier. If she were forced to be on this long-term, then I would seek another type of medication, because of the side effects that go along with long-term use. But, her case is short-term and we have had wonderful results for the past 3 seasons, and she appears no worse for the wear. Hope this is helpful.

November 23rd, 2004, 12:30 PM
Any long term use of pred (people or animals), should be monitered with Blood work. Every 6mths to 1yr...........even if only a CREA/BUN, ALT and UREA are ran. Pred should never be stopped cold turkey. It should aways decrease in dosage.

As Karin stated, "used correctly, it is a great drug to have around"

November 23rd, 2004, 12:38 PM
They are right,my dog had to take it,be prepared for ALOT of peeing,makes them very thristy,but they cannot take it to long,it is not good for them

November 23rd, 2004, 01:17 PM
An increase in water consumption and hunger are some side affects.

Do not let your pet con you into believing they are starving to death...animals on long term prednisone tend to be a little on the chunky side.

Jude & Roger
September 7th, 2005, 07:57 PM

I have been searching the net for 2 weeks now, since my dog Chopin has been ill and in intensive care in our St-Hyacinthe Hospital here in Quebec. We took him urgently that fatefull Tuesday afternoon, when our local vet suspected he had pancreatitis. We could not believe it, but in fact that was the diagnosis from the hospital.... Accute pancreatitis... they told us it was serious, and would try to help. After questions and answers, we did tell them, that after having skin rashes and flare ups, especially in summer time, on his torso, he had been given prednisone 5 mg. This was at least the last 2 years... ongoing... not an every day dose...but he did take lots and the vet did prescribe them. The doctor in hospital told us at that time, it was not good taking these pills for a long time, and one of the secondary effects is pancreatitis....... he needed blood transfusions, feeding tube, pain killers... they told us that this was extremley painfull...... we noticed his pain, the last night he was at home, when he spent the entire night, tossing, turning and could just not fall asleep.... if we only knew. He became entirely dehydrated, could not even keep water down.
His pancreas, stomach and intestines were completed plugged up due to the inflammed pancreas, and we did in fact accept that we might lose him last weekend.
Fortunately, he survived, and after a 3 hours surgical procedure a week ago, that was not garanteed, he will now make it home soon. His passage ways are getting better. and he is starting to drink this week. Thank god that the hospital took a chance...
This is why I am chocked that a vet could suggest us to take prednisone for such a long time and not mention all these problems we can have afterwards..

Any other comments or suggestions....

September 7th, 2005, 08:10 PM
I suspect (not being a vet, however) that Prednisone is like a lot of for most pets/people if used correctly. My cat Maya has been on it since the first of July for Irritable Bowel Disease and also as an appetite stimulant. They started her out on 5 mg twice a day, then tapered it to 5 mg once a day, and she is now on 5 mg every other day, and I suspect we'll stop it entirely this Friday. I don't know if the Prednisone worked for getting her to eat again, eventually, but at this point it doesn't seem to have harmed her.

My other cat, Chaco, is on it PRN for her asthma. From time to time, my vets and I have discussed putting her on something prophylactically, but I am wary for exactly the reasons cited here - the side effects. So she only gets it (5 mg) when she shows early warning signs of an asthma attack...which, since moving out of the city, has not been too often.

Good luck with your dog...I really hope things work out.


September 7th, 2005, 08:49 PM
As I have stated often on this site, every medication has its strengths and its adverse reactions. No one medication is without its down side. The best advice I can give anyone is to discuss your pet's situation and health with your vet and find the best medication for him or her. Sometimes, a medication that has many adverse reactions will be benefitial after all the risk analysis is done. Do as much research as you can on the medication and observe your kitty very carefully on new meds. I guess as someone who administers chemotheraphy on a daily basis, I know all too well the nasty side effects some drugs have but at the same time see them saving lives. It's all about weighing the options.

I agree with the other comments about this medication - you will need to monitor your pet closely witrh bloodwork. (Just as you would yourself if you are on meds) Good luck!!

Jude & Roger
September 8th, 2005, 06:54 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Although it is appreciated, I am still wondering if as you say, there are always adverse side effects with any medication, why the vet had not mentioned these effects, and neither did he suggest blood tests or special follow ups in order to ensure the medication was not harming the dog further.


September 9th, 2005, 12:33 AM
As an Asthmatic, I can tell you that Prednisone is a commonly
used medication to strengthen the lungs of Asthma sufferers.
However, according to my doctor, and a lung specialist I saw,
prednisone is a "last route" used to treat asthma. It is given in very controlled doses and you are instantly from dose 1 weaned off to nothing.
It should never be used to replace other methods of treatment, and should only be used with great caution, care, and as a last step in a long list of other acceptable treatments.
Pregnant women must never be given prednisone because it causes birth defects, and the same would go with dogs. It has also been suspected of causing ovarian and cervical cancer, though long term studies on this have never been completed.
Ask your doctor if some other treatment could be tried first. Prednisone should always be used with great respect and caution.
My two cents.

September 23rd, 2008, 11:16 PM
the vet is going to prescribe this for my lab maddie....tomorrow. They think that she has an auto immune mediated disease. the worry for me is that she has great trouble with any medicine..either holistic or not....Her tummy hurts her alot and even shots bother her. I'm quite worried about trying it because of this, but at the same time don't want to prevent her from getting help either. Any thoughts? Judy

September 24th, 2008, 09:42 AM
Judy, we had a dog with inflammatory bowel disease. It came down to a choice between letting him die or trying the pred. We went with the meds and brought him back from the brink.

Once we had the IBD under control, we weaned Evan off the pred and eventually were able to maintain him by diet alone. However, if we'd had to continue him on a low dose of pred + diet indefinitely, we would have done it. Sometimes, your best option is a harsh med. :shrug:

So if your dog is quite ill and nothing else is working, pred may be the way to go. The immediate side effects for Evan were increased appetite, increased thirst and increased urination (and I do mean the higher doses he had to go out suddenly every couple of hours). But as the dose was decreased, these symptoms also faded away.

Just follow the weaning instructions very carefully--trying to abruptly stop pred can be dangerous.

Good luck with your dog! I hope whatever you decide to do gives Maddie some relief. :goodvibes:

September 24th, 2008, 11:31 AM
Patrón has been prescribes prednisone quite a few times. Usually along with antibiotics to clear up the skin infections.

Once the reaction is gone, I cut the dose in half, and then half again the next day. After that I do every other day, and then finally to none. I have been told by my vet not to use it for a prolonged period of time. Its very hard on their system, and im sure you've noticed how much your doggy is drinking now, and if he's like Patrón, can BARELY make it all night without having a pee accident. Also I've notced Patrón's attitudes changes drastically, he is either A) VERY stand offish, laying around, moping, and really lathargic, or B) Has to be in my face, under my feet, in whatever room I'm in, at ALL times.

I keep prednisone on hand at all times and only use it when he has sever reactions to something. Have you tried Benadryl? Patrón can barely function WITHOUT Benadryl now...

Hope this helps!:pray:

September 24th, 2008, 12:47 PM
My dalmatian, Molly, was on prednisone almost all her life due to huge allergy problems. We tried everything else first, even a specialist with desensitizing shots. Prednisone was the final resort and we made it knowing it would make her comfortable and may have side effects. She started on it at about 1 year old and she lived to 11. At 11, her body was not absorbing food well and she was starving even with 3 huge nutricious meals a day. We made a difficult decision to have her put to sleep. In hindsight, we made the right choice to give her comfort for those years and would do it again if all else failed.