what is prednisone used for in dogs

what is prednisone used for in dogs

Prednisone for Veterinary Use

by Barbara Forney, VMD

Primary Data

Prednisone is an artificial corticosteroid used for a lot of situations in each human and veterinary drugs. Its anti-inflammatory exercise is roughly 4 occasions that of hydrocortisone. Corticosteroids are extraordinarily efficient anti-inflammatory medicine as a result of they have an effect on the inflammatory course of at so many various ranges. Prednisone is quickly transformed to prednisolone within the liver and, in most situations, these medicine are thought of to be roughly equal. Corticosteroids have sturdy useful results however a particular potential to trigger damaging side-effects if abused. Prednisone could also be given by injection, orally, or topically.

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Canine and Cats

Prednisone is used for all kinds of situations in each canines and cats. It might be utilized in emergency conditions together with anaphylactic reactions, spinal twine trauma, and plenty of types of shock. It’s used to handle and deal with immune-mediated illness similar to immune-mediated hemolytic anemia or thrombocytopenia, many CNS problems, some neoplasia, dermatologic illnesses, allergic reactions similar to bronchial asthma, hives and itching, inflammatory orthopedic illnesses, endocrine problems together with Addison’s Illness, respiratory illness with an inflammatory part, inflammatory bowel illnesses, and plenty of different situations.

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Cats could require increased doses than canines with the intention to obtain scientific response however they’re much less more likely to develop adversarial side-effects.


Prednisone is given systemically to lower inflammatory and immune responses. For years it was used orally to deal with Persistent Obstructive Pulmonary Illness (COPD) and different allergic or immune mediated problems. Current work has demonstrated that horses don’t take up oral prednisone though they do take up oral prednisolone. Different corticosteroids are most popular for intra-articular use.

Prednisone Aspect Results

  • Systemic side-effects of corticosteroids typically are depending on dose and length of therapy. Brief-term use of prednisone is unlikely to trigger adversarial results. Opposed results are extra widespread in animals on immunosuppressive doses.
  • Canine: Negative effects seen in canines embody polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, poor hair coat, GI disturbance, diarrhea, vomiting, weight acquire, GI ulceration, pancreatitis, lipidemia, elevated liver enzymes, diabetes mellitus, muscle losing, and potential behavioral modifications. Polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia could also be seen in canines even on short-term remedy.
  • Cats: Though cats are much less more likely to develop unwanted effects than canines, often polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, weight acquire, GI disturbances, and behavioral modifications happen.
  • Corticosteroids could cause or worsen gastric ulcers.


  • Persistent or inappropriate use of corticosteroids, together with prednisone, could cause life-threatening hormonal and metabolic modifications.
  • Opposed results as a result of corticosteroid therapy normally happen with long-term administration of the drug, particularly when excessive doses are used. Alternate day remedy with short-acting preparations is most popular. Animals which have acquired long-term remedy ought to be withdrawn slowly by tapering the dosage and prolonging the interval between doses.
  • Corticosteroids suppress immune response. Animals receiving systemic corticosteroids could also be extra inclined to bacterial or viral infections. Systemic corticosteroids can masks indicators of an infection, similar to an elevated temperature.
  • Systemic corticosteroids are contraindicated in sufferers with systemic fungal infections. The therapy of Addison’s Illness could also be thought of an exception.
  • Prednisone have to be transformed to prednisolone within the liver. Animals in hepatic failure ought to obtain prednisolone reasonably than prednisone.
  • Corticosteroids ought to be prevented or used very rigorously in younger animals each due to immune suppression and the chance of GI ulcers.
  • Corticosteroids have been implicated as a explanation for laminitis in horses and ponies. Some corticosteroids are regarded as extra more likely to trigger laminitis than others and prednisone traditionally has not been thought of to be within the higher-risk class. Pony breeds could also be extra inclined to growing laminitis than horses.
  • Though corticosteroids could also be utilized in wholesome older horses, they shouldn’t be utilized in horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction. These horses already could have excessive ranges of pure corticosteroids and are susceptible to laminitis and suppressed immune perform.
  • Corticosteroids ought to be prevented throughout being pregnant and lactation except the advantages outweigh the dangers. Massive doses in early being pregnant could also be teratogenic. Corticosteroids can induce labor and have been used to terminate being pregnant in bitches.

Drug Interactions

  • When amphotericin B or diuretics similar to furosemide are given with corticosteroids, there may be an elevated danger of electrolyte imbalances as a result of calcium and potassium losses.
  • Digitalis and potassium ranges ought to be monitored carefully in animals taking prednisone.
  • Corticosteroids could improve insulin necessities. Estrogen could potentiate the consequences of corticosteroids.
  • Medication that will trigger drug interactions with Prednisone embody Salicylate, Phenytoin, Phenobarbital, Rifampin, Cyclosporine, Erythromycin, Mitotane and anti-cholinesterase medicine similar to Neostigmine and Pyridostigmine.
  • The immune response to vaccination could also be lowered when corticosteroids are given on the identical time.
  • The chance of GI ulcers could also be elevated if corticosteroids and different medicine susceptible to inflicting ulcers similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine are given on the identical time.


Brief-term administration of even giant doses is unlikely to trigger critical dangerous systemic results as a result of adrenal suppression. Issues related to long-term administration of prednisone relate to suppression of regular adrenal perform, iatrogenic Cushing’s Illness and metabolic disaster as a result of abrupt withdrawal.

Concerning the Writer

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Dr. Barbara Forney

Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a grasp’s diploma in animal science from the College of Delaware and graduated from the College of Pennsylvania Faculty of Veterinary Medication in 1982.

She started to develop her curiosity in consumer schooling and medical writing in 1997. Current publications embody parts of The Capsule E book Information to Remedy for Your Canine and Cat, and most not too long ago Understanding Equine Drugs printed by the Bloodhorse.

Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an lively member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.

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