What exactly is Prednisone?
Prednisone is a drug used to treat various disease conditions in dogs. It is a corticosteroid. It is being sold under brand names like Deltasone or Sterapred, also known as Merz. It is available in tablets of various dosages like 1 mg, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg and 50mg. Usually, the dosage for the pet is given on the basis of the condition to be treated. As it is one of the drugs that is used to treat many different health problems in dogs, it is essential for the pet owners to have sufficient knowledge about its use. Also, any effects so that they can avoid any hazard. So let us take a look at all the diseases and malfunctioning that this drug claims to be able to help in and the side effects that this medicine can cause among dogs.
Benefits of Prednisone
Cancer of lymphoid cells is known as lymphoma. It is a disease which is also popular among humans and even the dogs. The cancer can affect any part of the body of the dog, like skin, chest or lymph nodes. Now the usual treatment for lymphoma is by chemotherapy. But most of the pet owners do not prefer it as it is toxic. It is also a more costly procedure. This is where Prednisone helps. The treatment by using it is not only less toxic but also less expensive and is more comfortable for the dog as compared to chemotherapy. It will kill the cancer cells and help to suppress the tumor. However, treatment with it has only short term effect and helps in increasing the life expectancy only by two to three months.
2. Helps during organ replacement.
It is also known as an immune-suppressing agent. The drug has this specific effect of reducing the immune resistance of the body. This is helpful especially during organ replacement surgeries.
The drug helps in reducing the inflammatory response of the body to various agents. Hence, it helps to reduce itching and swelling reactions.
In allergies, the immune response of the body becomes sensitive to some foreign particles and reacts by swelling or in the form of inflammation. In such conditions, the drug helps by suppressing the immune system of the body and helps avoid various skin problems.
5. Addison’s disease
Addison’s disease is a disorder of the endocrine system in which not sufficient amount of steroid hormone is produced in the body. In such conditions, Prednisone can be one of the drugs administered for the treatment in dogs.
The following are the possible side effects of the drug if given for your dog, and in case the effects grow serious, one should consider consulting a veterinarian.
1. Increase in thirst and Hunger
It can increase the level of hunger and thirst in the dogs. This may result in an increased intake of food and water and cause frequent urination.
It can make the body of the pet more resistant to the effect of insulin. This will result in an increase in the blood sugar level (glucose) and hence cause diabetic problems among the dogs.
3. Loss of hair or skin infections
This is one of the frequent side effects of prednisone. The body hair on the dog becomes thinner and may also lose its sheen. The dog may catch skin infections too, which in most cases will be much more difficult to heal.
4. Change in the behavior
Many a times, use of this medication can cause an observable amount of change in your pet’s behavior. The dogs may become more aggressive or grow more restless.
5. Stomach and intestinal problems.
This medicine has also been known to cause stomach upset and vomiting problems in dogs. However, even more serious side effects like development of ulcers, or diarrhea have also been observed.
6. Loss of weight
Being put on this medication can result in loss of a considerable amount of weight of your pet.
7. Decreased immunity
The drug, as mentioned before, is an immune suppressor and can reduce the body’s resistance to many infections. Hence, the likelihood of a dog catching an infection increases.
8. Cushing’s disease
This is one of the most serious side effects. It is the effect of overproduction of the hormone called cortisone. Its symptoms are usually weight gain or loss, impaired immune system or increased thirst.
9. Eye problems
An increased dosage can produce side effect in the eyes too and can cause eye problems like Glaucoma or cataract. These can prove to be a serious threat to the dog’s health and behavior.
10. Other Side effects
It has been known to cause other effects like insomnia, or muscle pain. It can cause weakness and cause pains in the joint. It can also cause fatigue in the muscles easily.
Important things to keep in mind while going for prednisone for dogs:
1. Before being put on a medication, always tell your veterinarian if your dog has any kidney problems, hypothyroidism, stomach ulcers or diabetes or is already on any other medication.
2. Try and give the medicine along with the food so as to reduce the effect of stomach upset. Also keep the provision for more food and water available for the dog.
3. If you are planning to stop the dosage, always make a gradual reduction in the dose before stopping it completely.
4. Do not give it to your pet if it has any viral, bacterial or fungal infection, as prednisone will further reduce the body’s immune response to fight against such infections.
5. Never overdose the pet. Although a single overdose is not likely to cause any serious problem, heavy doses over a period can result in some serious threats.
6. While on the medication, do not vaccinate your dog for anything without first checking it with the veterinarian. You should be avoiding any source that can cause a likely infection.
Importance of consulting the veterinarian:
In the case of any problems during medication or confusion in the instructions, it is always best to consult a veterinarian first. Medicating your dog by yourself is not recommended. Any combined effect of medicine can also pose threats to the pet’s health and hence, one should follow the instructions of the veterinarian to the letter.