Long Term Use of Prednisone in Pets

There can be side-effects from long-term use of Prednisone.

One of the more commonly prescribed drugs in veterinary medicine is the drug Prednisone. The most common use of this medication is as an anti-inflammatory agent used in a wide variety of  chronic diseases, including chronic inflammatory bowel disease, chronic skin/ear allergies, chronic respiratory disease and asthma, as well as chronic neurologic disorders. Prednisone has also been used as an immune suppressive agent in immune mediated disorders of the body, as well as part of many chemotherapy protocols.

When used appropriately, short-term use of Prednisone does not have a lot of side effects in animals; however, when used long- term, there are increased risks of toxicity and side effects. Common side effects include increased thirst/urination, appetite and respiratory rate, as well as changes in behavior from lethargy to hyperexcitability. Secondary organ problems of the pancreas (including diabetes and pancreatitis), liver and adrenal glands may occur. Thinning of the bone and skin also may occur with long term use of Prednisone. Secondary viral and/or bacterial infections in any organ system may occur, especially of the urinary tract and skin. In some sensitive pets, gastrointestinal erosion and ulceration may occur, leading to bleeding and possibly anemia.

Whenever a pet is on long-term Prednisone, it is always worthwhile asking about other alternative drugs, including other anti-inflammatory agents, including antihistamines, as well as other immune suppressive agents such as cyclosporine. Herbal remedies such as licorice may also be helpful in some cases. Most pets, however, can be maintained on chronic low-dose alternate day Prednisone therapy for a long time, as long as periodic veterinary exams and labwork are done to detect any possible side effects.

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  1. Hello- we had a question answered by you on Oct. 21, 2014 regarding our beagle, Max. We did get the transfer factors and I do think they helped him, although I wish I had known of them sooner. We lost our poor Max on Feb. 27th, 2015 (just last Friday). In Dec. 2014, his beg legs were giving out. Took him in for an x-ray and vet said spine was narrow in spots but big concern was that his lungs only had 25% (in only one lung) open – the other 75% was full of his cancer tumors. We took him home, and his legs went back to normal after resting a couple of days- back up steps again and everything- this dog was amazing. But, we knew the time was coming soon based on his lungs, and the trachea cancer that had returned in his throat. In Jan., his belly became very bloated. I initially thought this was due to the prednisone, but wasn’t sure. Last week, he began panting constantly, and although he would wag his tail, bark and had a great appetite, he got ‘different’. He lost weight. He went off to a rug far from us and would sit there, faced opposite of us and kind of stare into space. The big change we noticed was he did not want to lay down. He actually fell asleep sitting up and once he’d plop down, he’d prop up right away again. When we’d had a bad night last week of him not sleeping at all- just panting and sitting up, we knew we needed to let him go because he seemed miserable. The problem we’re having is our vet gave us 25mg of Acepromozine before we brought him- it’s a 45 minute drive, and he was always nervous. Once he got there, he was drowsy, and they laid him on the table, and his heart stopped- by itself, no drugs- he just died. Did we overdose him on Acepromozine and stop his heart? Did he know that if he laid down this was going to happen and that’s why he fought it while at our house? Was the prednisone the cause of his abdomen being so bloated, or was it something else? Our vet assured us we did the right thing, but we’re just not sure and have been too upset to call again and wanted an objective opinion. Thank you for your time.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 1:29 pm · Reply

      Please know that you did a wonderful Job in keeping Max going for so long. I DONT think the acepromazine was involved in his passing, as it sounds like it was his time. Glad to hear that the transfer factor helped a bit. Sounds like you gave him a wonderful life.

    • It sounds like Max had a wonderful life with people that love him, I don’t think you could have done a thing different.
      We can never know whether we did the right thing or not when we lose a pet, all we can do is try our best. Not even veterinarians know what the best thing is in all cases, after all they’re human just like us. No one’s perfect.

  2. If you recall, I posted a while back about my cat Samantha who experienced bi-lateral deafness after an ear flush. She had an MRI and it revealed two ruptured ear drums and a clogged tympanic bulla. She was put on antibiotic (for about one month) and prednisone (four months now) and actually began to hear again. Her ears don’t move toward sound as cat’s ears typically do and she has trouble localizing, but sound is getting in and it’s enough to improve her quality of life. However, when I tried to fade the pred, she started to lose hearing again, so she went back on. Now I am once again fading because it’s been almost four months and she needs to get off this medication and I am again noticing her hearing diminish, and she shakes her head a few times a day, which she stopped doing on the prednisone. So it seems that there is inflammation preventing her from hearing and the prednisone reduced the inflammation allowing sound to get through, and fading the meds is causing the inflammation to return (hence the head shake and diminished hearing) – that’s my theory anyway. Any suggestions as to a next step that is safer than going back on prednisone which I am not willing to do? What specific natural anti-inflammatory could help with inner ear issues? I want her off the meds but I see her getting worse as we lower the dosage. Thanks for your help.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm · Reply

      You could see a veterinary homeopath for an alternative approach for these ear issues http://www.drpitcairn.com for an appropriately trained homeopathic vet in your area. As for other options you could ask your vet about alternative immune suppressive medications such as atopica or cyclosporine to use with and/or instead of prednisone.

  3. Last week my 28-lb. cocker was prescribed 5 mg. Prednisone to take once daily for 5 days. No mention was made of taking her off this medicine gradually. However, I have been reading about this medication and read where it should be tapered before discontinuing it. Vet’s office closed today. I have already given 3 tablets, Should I taper the dosage of the last two tablets? Thanks,

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm · Reply

      An only 5 day course of this medication usually does not need to be gradually tapered off.

  4. our 13 1/2 year old huskie/shepherd + mix is on 10 mgs prednisone for probable inflammatory bowel disease. She is eating every meal eagerly for the first time in over a year, which is great! We observe she has completely stopped shedding, and this is unprecedented: she has always shed at least a little, and dramatically with seasons changing. I am wondering whether the pred is responsible for no shedding, and if it is healthy ?


    • Deb!!! How long was your fur baby on 10mg/daily for IBS. My baby has been on it for about 2 months. We tried to cut him back, but he spiraled…and we had to bring him back up to 10mg a day. My baby is 13 years old too.

      • Every animal is different with how long they can be on long term prednisone and at what doses. I always try and instruct clients to ask vet about alternative drugs i.e especially for IBD such as newer immunosuppressive drugs such as atopica/cyclosporine, etc

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  6. Our 4 year old boxer was put on a 50mg dose daily of perdition eat the time he was down to 35 lbs and now he’s back up to 65 I’m reading all these normal dosages are around 5mg. Is the 50mg wrong and if so could it hurt him he has been on it daily for 3 or more months

  7. My five year old cat is on liquid Prednisone, as of yesterday, Nov. 12,2015. When my cat & I returned from the Vet, I fed her some cat food. In the meantime, I forgot to put her Prednisone in the refrigerator. Yes, I was told to put it in the refrigerator. Is it safe to give her the next dose or should I let the Vet know? Thanks in advance.

  8. I have a 4.5 yorkie that was ALWAYS itching. I had her on a 2.5 every other day and then a 2.5 does every day of Prednisone. She was still constantly itching every part of herself, not one specific area. I put her on a 5.0 daily dose of Prednisone and the itching has stopped. I am however concerned of the long term effects. She isn’t overly excited or lethargic, she doesn’t seem to eat or drink too much, she hasn’t gained any weight. Any recommendations?

  9. malinda ramsunkerJanuary 5, 2016 at 8:07 am · Reply

    hi there,
    my baby boerboel Milo has been diagnosed with wobbler syndrome we cannot afford the major surgery to his vertebrae to correct this problem, the vet suggested that we give dosages of prednisone and this helped him a lot however the meds are now finished, can we continuously keep him on these meds? he is 60kgs and 1.8 months old, we really don’t have the heart to put him down at such a young age and he loves to run and play and seems fine when he’s on meds, thing is will it cause more damage that way? please help I need some advice

    • Hi I have a 15 year old malemale cat named Baby that has been on prednisone most of his life usually five milligrams to start and 2. 5 milligrams daily after that. It wasn’t on a continuous basis but more often than not. I have a second cat that has cancer and I now have to give prednisone on a daily basis in addition to by- weekly prednisone shots.
      From what I have been told any problems are long term and since the alternative is to have my babies put down I’ll stick with the prednisone. Good luck and Google is a wonderful way to look some of this up.

  10. Pingback: Tucker's experience with arthritis and prednisone - Beagle Forum : Our Beagle World Forums

  11. Hello, my chewwey was diagnosed with bronchiastasis, he was put on 5 mg of prednisone everyday. We have since cut his dosage down to 2.5 mg, except for when it is ecspecially cold out, he will get the full 5 mg. He is also on 2000mg of fish oil, and 10mg of claritin every day. He has started to show signs of cushings…is there an alternative to the prednisone. He goes back to see his vet again on the 13th of February. Any suggestions would be helpful, so that I may ask her.

  12. Hi, my dear friend Butter’s is a 13 yr old Pit Bull Terrier. He has Lymphoma and is on Prednisone. During the day he sleeps and seems ok, once it is night time, he wants to drink and go out to pee. He also has diarrhea.
    Can I give him anything at night to help relax him and help him to sleep? Maybe low dose of Benadryl ?
    What can I give him to help with the Diarrhea?

    • See your vet about specific anti diarrheal drugs like metronidazole or other intestinal antibiotics that they can possibly prescribe. You can try the natural calming essence Composure and/or Be serene from1800petmeds, or you can ask your vet about other pain meds that have calming effect like Gabapentin or tramadol if appropriate

  13. If your canine child has allergies, before you pay the Vet BIG bucks to prescribe steroids, think Benadryl.
    Short term side effects of steroids are not cool, but long term effects can be terrible.
    Increased thirst…increased urination.
    Increased hunger…increased weight gain.
    Skin yeast infections.
    BIG risk of diabetes.
    How do I know these things? My canine son Ripper had really itchy skin and scratched himself 24/7.
    The Vet prescribed Prednisone pills, and the itching stopped. The increased thirst and increased urination began.
    Ripper NEVER, NEVER, EVER whizzed in the house, and even after getting up twice during the night, he peed on the floor.
    He began slowly but surely packing on the pounds. His itching was under control so I continued the steroids for 2 years.
    His bladder control got better, but the weight gain was bad. I started my investigation of the situation online.
    Without any conversation with my steroid pushing Vet, I read online about the proper way to reduce steroids and stop them.
    I began giving Ripper 25mg of Benadryl twice a day, and his itching problem stopped and did not return.
    Sadly, Ripper got diabetes and we did the pee collection twice per day as well as insulin shots once per day.
    We fought the good fight with diabetes for 7 years, but in the end cancer took my son from me.
    To reiterate… steroids MAY not be the long term answer for your canine child’s allergy problem.

    • Excellent points Burt. Long term prednisone may be no longer necessary as there are newer, hopefully safer drugs like apoquel which can help with long term itching, etc When antihistamines like benadryl or zyrtec work, this also is helpful as well. I recommend supplementing all pets with allergies with omega 3 fatty acids such as nordic naturals pet omega 3

  14. Hello Dr Dym!
    Searching for info in prednisone and lymphoma and came across your blog. We are old patients of yours! Hope you are well! Unfortunately our Portuguese Water Dog was diagnosed with T cell lymphoma and we decided to use prednisone to make him comfortable. Trying to see how long he could last from diagnosis. It’s been 2 months now.
    He’s only six years old.

    • Hi Beth. I remember you and your mom and the health food store well. Actually the average survival time for lymphoma dogs with prednisone alone is typically 2 to 3 months. As I am sure you and your mom are a;lready doing, remember the role that diet and nutritional supplements and possibly homeopathy can play in also trying to help these patients. Good luck with it.

  15. My 28lb cocker spaniel was diagnosed Monday with a strained disc. She’s been put on 20mg prednisone a day (1 1/2 pills). She’s been panting, excessive urination and shivering. The vet today said the shivering was from pain and perscribed 50 mg of tramadol twice daily. I forgot to ask if they can be given togethe. Also, does the dose seem high?

  16. No problem in giving the tramadol and pred together. Dose sounds ok, however your vet may need to adjust dose lower if side effects. Also ask vet if other pain meds like gabapentin or methocarbimol can help as well as I use these often in back problems

  17. My 13 year old terrier mix was diagnosed with Lymphoma in November and has been on Prednisone since that time. He has gain a lot of weight even though I have cut back on the amount of food. Is there anything I can do to help?

    • I would follow the instructions of your local veterinarian. Weight gain is a common side effect of chronic prednisone therapy, but this drug may be necessary for the comfort of your animal. I assume you did not elect chemotherapy in your dog. 4 to 5 months survival on only prednisone therapy is actually quite good, in terms of survival time post lymphoma diagnosis when only using prednisone therapy

  18. Our dog Hooch is a 12 year-old Old English Bulldog 80 lbs. His sister, Maxine, just died who was 9 years old from what we think was encephalitis caused by anaplasmosis and lyme disease. The last week that Max was alive, Hooch started collapsing to the floor and peeing. We thought at first that he was having seizures like Max. We took him to the vet who assumed (because he had not seen a “seizure”) that he was seizing. He did not test positive for lyme, but his lymph nodes in his back legs are swollen, so Hooch is on Doxycycline (400 mg) twice a day — not taking any chances as we lost Max. Hooch continued to collapse — and I realized that he was not seizing — he was collapsing in pain. Took him to the vet and several xrays later, he has swelling in his back around his spinal cord and it looks like three vertabrae are compressed (less space between them than the others). Doctor said all blood tests are normal. So, Hooch was placed on prednisone 20 mg per day. After a few days we told the vet that he does not want to eat (we force feed him), he is urinating way more than normal, and drinking way more than normal. Urinating all over the house. The vet told us to cut the dose in half, but after only a few days, he began to collapse again. He has been on the prednisone (20 mg per day) for three weeks now, and I notice he is breathing heavily when he lays down. His abdomen seems to be raising more than usual and it looks like he is struggling. He does not want to lay on his stomach anymore, he lays non his side and seems uncomfortable. His eyes are bloodshot too. I don’t want him on the prednisone as I fear cushings disease. He is not himself — he walks around as if he is in pain and makes this weird dry heave choking sound. The Doxycycline, I am told, has anti-inflamatory properties too. He will be on that for another 4 weeks to insure against the Lyme that took Max. What else can we do for him? Must we continue to keep him on the prednisone? Is there something else that can help the swelling and give him pain relief? How long is too long on the prednisone? He is a large dog — if he loses muscle mass he will lose the ability to hold himself up. I just don’t know what to do. I am terrified that I am going to lose him too.

  19. Hi Dana. Sorry to hear about this situation. I would ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary neurologist in your area, if the only options your vet has are pred and doxycycline. If it were my dog, I would also consider trying to find a holistic or homeopathic veterinarian in your area, who might be able to help from a different perspective, as traditional drugs used in veterinary neurology are a short list. To learn more and/or to try and find a holistic vet in your area, see http://www.drpitcairn.com and http://www.theAVH.org

  20. Hi, My 12 yr old Boston Terrier began having seizures last August. He was put on Phenobarbitol but also Prednisone for a serious spinal issue. I think we left him on the Prednisone too long, from Aug to Dec. Finally dropped dosage slowly and he came off it, But the damage to his skin was awful! It has greatly improved since coming off the drug but I am having a hard time clearing up the hard plaque like areas of skin under both armpits, back legs, and over his eyebrows. There are also several waxy feeling patches on his belly and chest. Can you recommend a topical treatment that will help soften the hard patches acn help clear the other areas? He is a miracle after what he has been through! He was peeing constantly, panting, drinking water endlessly, and could barely climb up the porch steps! Now he is running, eating and drinking normally, and holding his bladder all night again! His back issue has greatly improved as well. I’ve tried tea tree oil, but so far it’s not helped. But for the horrible skin problem he is doing great! Thanks for any help!

    • HI Jacki. I would have a consultation with a veterinary dermatologist in your area if possible, which would offer best expert diagnosis of chronic skin issue and/or treatment. You could try topical coconut oil applied to areas a few times daily, as well as give it orally at dose of 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight added to each meal daily. Also put him on an omega 3 fatty acid such as nordic naturals pet omega 3 from `1800petmeds. Topical aloe vera and/or vitamin E also may help as well daily.

  21. 7 year old lab diagnosed with liver disease in March. It took from January to March for the vet to diagnose her but when she was diagnosed her liver enzymes were off the chart and her liver was disfigured. (per sonogram) She was initially put on an antibiotic, antacid, SAM-e, 30 mg of prednisone and 300 mg of ursodiol. She wasn’t eating. 4 months later she is eating and wants to eat all the time. She’s gone from loosing weight to gaining weight. Her respiration rate is up. She is on 20 mg of Prednisone one day and 10 the next. She no longer takes an antibiotic but continues on everything else. When she was 3 she had ACL surgery on one leg and then at 4 1/12, the other leg. This past week she has been hesitant to go upstairs and go in the car (both of which she loves). What are the side effects of keeping her on daily prednisone? Whenever we try to cut it back she doesn’t do well and the vet says to go back to the 30 mg one day 20 the next. She is OK but not well. Are we making her suffer? Is there hope of reversing or getting her liver disease to a manageable point? Is the prednisone effecting her joints? So many concerns.

    • Excellent questions and many possibilities here. Best for you to ask your vet for referral to vet specialist in your area or internal medicine specialist who may be able to offer liver aspirate or biopsy to best determine long term care and treatment. Liver values should be monitored periodically. Prednisone can have many wonderful effects as well as many possible side effects. You may want to consult with holistic vet as well. To learn more see http://www.doctordym.com as well as see book Dr
      Pitcairn’s Guide To Natural HEalth for dogs and Cats by Richard Pitcairn, DVM, phd, which has great suggestions on home diets, liver support, etc.

  22. My 8 year old Old English Sheep dog was recently diagnosed with an auto-immune disease with low white blood cell counts. At some point her count was as low as 40 000 although everything else with her and her lab tests were normal. Our vet told us the normal avg. is around 200 000. He has put her on Prednisone starting at 80mg/a day and now down to 40mg/ a day. Her last test showed her count was up 160 000. Since she has been on Prednisone she has been drinking and urinating 4 times more (which was expected) but we have also noticed she has much less energy than before and she eats 4 times more too. She has gained about 4 lbs in 2 weeks which is concerning to us. I just want to know wether the dosage isn’t too high for her based on other prescribed dosage. Should we be concerned of the side effects and current dosage and discuss this with our vet?

    • HI Ellie. Thanks for your question. There are definitely other options for autoimmune blood and other disorders. While prednisone is the main drug, most commonly the first choice of most veterinarians; if there are unpleasant side effects, then there are other meds such as atopica(cyclosporine), as well as many others that can be explored by your veterinarian. You could also ask your vet for a referral to vet internist in your area if needed for expert opinion on this condition and breed. Given the common incidence of autoimmune disorders and thyroid disease in this breed(sometimes at the same time), it may be worthwhile to have a COMPLETE thyroid profile done on her to make sure hypothyroidism does not exist. I would also talk to your vet about starting your dog on Melatonin at a dose of 6 mg twice daily, as this over the counter supplement from the health food store, also can help with platelet production and bone marrow release of platelets. Even the most traditional of veterinary specialists are now using melatonin in cases like this with autoimmune platelet disorders. Hope this helps

      • Thank you very much for the recommendations. This is very helpful and will definitely discuss these alternative options with my vet.

  23. Our 16.5 yr old moyen poodle had been healthy and active until this past January when she had a bout of pancreatitis. From 22 lbs, she slowly went down to 16 lbs by May when she was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure and maybe something neurological. Vet said pretty much to count her good vs bad days and give her any food that she will take. We tried everything and she didn’t eat much until a month ago when she started eating voraciously 3 small meals/day of easy digestible canned food plus pumpkin and baby food. She’s also maintaining her weight at 14 lbs. Her walking was not great so she went on prednisone 5 mg. – do you think 2.5/day more appropriate based on her weight? Also is it better to take entire dosage once a day or split up to twice a day? Many thanks.

    • Hi Georgie. Doses of prednisone will vary in pets, and either dose does not sound too high to me, but your local vet needs to adjust dose based on clinical symptoms, labwork and/or history, etc I would also suggest perhaps trying a proper home made diet, as that may help many of these conditions as well in pet this age. See the kidney diet recipes in the book Dr Pitcairn’s Guide to NAtural Health for Dogs and Cats by Richard PItcairn, DVM, phd or my friend and nutritionist’s website Chef Loreen Playford http://www.k9petchef.com Loreen can also individualize a home recipe for you based on age, breed, clinical conditions, etc. Use my name as referral

  24. Good evening Dr Dym,
    I have a 3.5 yr old boxer, Governor, who was recently diagnosed with DISH and spondylosis based on 2 XRs and clinical symptoms. He was totally healthy and then in March had a back leg he wouldn’t let us touch. Only lasted a day or two after the vet started him on meloxicam daily and told us it was arthritis. He seemed to be fine for several months then in June had a flare up that wasn’t responding to the medication anymore. Went for a second opinion where he was diagnosed with DISH/spondylosis and was put in prednisone. He started 2x per day then 1x day and now every other day all over about 2 months. He responded so well to the prednisone. Happy and flexible like he was a year ago. He has been taking prednisone every other day for about 2 weeks but today started showing signs of being uncomfortable again (cries when he stands up but other wise is comfortable moving around). The vet who is also a surgeon has suggested an MRI and surgery for his spine depends on where the nerves are pinched at. The only problem with that is they estimate the whole surgery to cost around $8000, which we would be happy to pay if we hadn’t just spent another $8000 for our other dog, a Rhodesian ridgeback that had a bowel obstruction and perforation. We are kind of in a tight spot and I wanted to know if and for how long a can bump his steroid dose back up in order to buy us some time. We live in Central California and I would prefer to take Governer home to Texas A&M and try to get him into a vet there. Any advice would help. We are seeing out vet here on Monday.

    • Sounds like he is under excellent care. You may want to ask your vet about additional prescription medications i.e tramadol, gabapentin, and/or amantadine as additional pain meds. good luck with it

  25. Hello Dr. Dym,
    Our soon to be 7 year old black lab recently began having seizures on July 4th, one of the worst days of our lives seeing him go through six seizures in one day. We immediately took him to the vet the following day were our vet diagnosed him with epilepsy. He then started him on 63mg of phenobarbital, he was on this for several weeks and remained seizure free. He was very lethargic and would walk into things we soon began to taper his pheno to half a pill and saw no improvement, we then tapered him to 1/4 a pill. He remained seizure free while tapering, we stopped his phenobarbital on a Saturday and took him back to the vet on Monday to have blood drawn, LFTs, CBC, CMP was all normal his phenobarbital level was below therapeutic range. We told our vet we notice our lab often favoring his right, turning to the right and only would turn right to get turned around. We questioned stroke, vet said his pupils looked fine, equal and reacted without any problems. He was started on 5mg of prednisone for 15 days and we had our happy health running barking tail wagging Brody back!! He had not wagged his tail or barked for close to a month and a half! His last dose of prednisone was Saturday morning, last night he had his first small seizure in less intensity since July 4th. He was started back on 5mg prednisone today and is to take it everyday for one week and then every other day for a week. Was wondering your opinion on the conclusion we have made diagnosis wise and if he could be on a long term small dose steroid long term if every other day works for him?
    Anything helps!

    • hi Jenna. Sorry to hear of your labradors unfortunate seizure condition. I would ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary neurologist in your area, who can offer a more complete and thorough neurological workup and assessment, including possible brain MRI, and/or CSF fluid analysis. This may give idea as to the specific disease process, as if he got better on the prednisone, then he may have an inflammatory condition of the brain which needs to be specifically diagnosed for a more accurate and precise treatment plan and prognosis, as dogs can have brain tumors as well which can respond to prednisone initially as well. Hope this helps. You can also an alternative explore holistic veterinary medicine as well and/or constitutional classical homeopathy. To learn more see the booklet on the site http://www.beyondflatearth.com as well as my website and links http://www.doctordym.com Many homeopathic vets do offer phone consultations. Good luck on difficult case.

  26. Hi Doctor,
    I just found your site when looking up prednisone treatment for pets. My 26 lb doxie mix became paralyzed in back legs, etc two weeks ago. It apparently came on gradually but I was thinking it was a urine or kidney problem, and when it suddenly appeared she was in excruciating pain, we got to a vet immediately and by then she was paralyzed. The x rays however were not definitive, so I don’t have an exact location/ diagnosis. I could not consider surgery for $10k, and so we are on conservative tx. Doing the tramadol, gabapentin, methocarbomal and prednisone. All of these are being reduced from either TID to BID, or BID to QD, and as of this third week, the prednisone which was 5 mg BID one week, then QD one week, is now to be QD every other day for two weeks. Would you say at that point it is safe to d/c if the pain is not present?

    • HI Carol. All excellent questions. Sounds like your dog is on an excellent combination of pain and anti inflammatory pain meds. The decision on tapering doses and at what rates varies depending on response and exam findings. A case like this should be evaluated initially every 5 to 7 days, and doses very slowly tapered over several weeks. I would also ask your local vet about possibly referring you to holistic practitioner in your area skilled in chiropractic and/or acupuncture, as both can play excellent roles in strengthening spine and possibly preventing relapses at adjacent or the same disc spaces. There is no down side to trying these. Also put your dog on excellent joint supplements including proanthozone, super joint enhancer and omega 3 like nordic naturals pet omega 3 from 1800petmeds

  27. I have a 5 year old little dog. She was diagnosed with degenerative discs. She needs a 5,000 dollar surgery and as a college student about to graduate I don’t have to tell you I don’t have that kind of money. My dog functions normally on prednisone. She takes it once a day and has been doing that since August. She also takes methocarbonal and tramadol. We tried taking her off but she can’t move if she doesn’t have her steroid. 23 tried Rivera but that did absolutely nothing. Any recommendations?

    • Sorry to hear of your dilemma Muyranda. You could also ask your vet about other scripts for disc/back pain issues such as Gabapentin, as well as amantadine or Amitryptylline, which may allow you to lower the steroid dose, etc. I would also ask your vet for referral to veterinary chiropractor and/or acupuncturist in your area, as I have seen traditional Chinese medicine sometimes work wonders in pets with chronic disc disease, and you really have nothing to lose, as other than expensive, no guarantee surgery, we truthfully have nothing else to offer in traditional veterinary medicine, other than cortisone and more cortisone and the drugs listed here

  28. hi, my dog started having hip issues back in June. We started him on glucosimine tables two 800mg a day. and meloxicam. To help with the pain. He’s a 95lbs black Lab. He’s 5yrs old. Vet didn’t see any signs or trauma or injury. And said it just may be due to muscle loss. The back legs got worse. They started giving out him till one day he couldn’t get up at all. We took him again and we switched to methencorbonal and tramadol. It helped for a bit but he was still having a lot of pain. One Sat morning he was really bad.Not lifting his head, eating.etc. Fortunately our vet is open on Sat. They saw him right away and asked if we wanted to rule out Lyme disease. We did that and it came back positive. So vet added doxycycline, and the tramadol for pain. We just started the prednisone last week. He is responding much better since we added the prednisone. He eats good. Poops and pees fine, (no blood). There was no fever nor has there been. He does respond to my massages. He has even moved his tail on his own today. So my ?? is does this seem like Lyme or something else. Do I need a 2nd opinion and if is his spine will he recover without surgery? He seems normal when we give him the pain meds and the steriod except that he can’t stand and drags the back legs. One leg is buckled. But when he lays on his side he can move both back legs? Also can I still keep giving him the supplements. He was on the glucosimine and fish oil but I wasn’t sure if I could give them at the same time. I keep forgetting to ask the vet?

    • HI Amy. I would indeed ask your vet to consult with and/or refer you to a local veterinary internist or specialist in your area who can review workup thus far, as well as if further quantitative blood testing for lyme disease and/or other illnesses is indicated. Sounds like a merrygoround use of meds with no exact diagnosis. In fact, many “Lyme positive” dogs just means they have been exposed to lyme at some point in past, but NOT necessarily due to current infection, especially if diagnosed on in house veterinary lyme screens. Your vet should also be monitoring urine protein levels through routine urine analysis, as well as urine test called urine protein/creatinine ration as that is truly the main long term risk of chronic lyme exposure, especially in labrador retrievers, who seem to be genetically prone to a rare form of chronic lyme known as lyme nephropathy I dont see a problem with his supplements at same time as the other meds, but check with your local vet to get his or her opinion on this

  29. My 9 year old lab, Lovey, has issues in her spine…she can barely walk and the vet took x rays and put her on adequan and prednisone, which she was gradually weaned off of. She improved marvelously. Now she is only on adequan but it is not helping. Her quality of life is bad. Bless her heart, she will struggle to go outside to do her business, but it is heartbreaking to watch. Could she be put on long term prednisone, which seemed to wok so well? I would rather have her have a good qua!ity of life, even if it is shortened somewhat. Also what is the benefit of predlisone over prednisone? Thank you!

  30. Hi Michael We have a five year old Springer Spaniel who has been on Prednisone for the past four years. He was put on this as a scan on his brain showed either inflammation on the brain (encephalitis) or some sort of damage developed when he was a pup in the hind brain. He was prescribed 20mg per day initially which has now been dropped to 5mg in the morning. Over the years we’ve reduced this dosage and then increased when his symptoms have got worse. We’ve recently upped the dosage to 10mg (5mg AM and 5mg PM) to see if this will stop the symptoms. His symptoms are excessive drooling due to paralysis of the tongue, his tongue hasn’t developed fully so he has issues eating and drinking , an inability to make a left turn, curving to the right and issues with balance and co-ordination. He is otherwise a very fit and active boy. My questions are: What can we do to help alleviate the side effects of Predisone? Is there long term damage with such a low dosage? Is there any other type of drug you could suggest instead? Bearing in mind we did trial no Prednisone for a few weeks and he was knocked off his feet due to balance issues and inability to straighten up his spine. I’d appreciate any advice. Many thanks.

  31. Hi Jennifer. Sorry to hear of your 5 year old springer spaniel’s difficult journey thus far. Sounds like you love him very much and have certainly done all of the traditional diagnostics and therapies for this. Such a complex case would require a more individualized consultation with a holistic and/or homeopathic veterinarian like myself. To learn more about constitutional homeopathy, to see if that may be appropriate for your dog, see the booklet on the website http://www.beyondflatearth.com as well as the info on my site http://www.doctordym.com There are many possibilities and approaches to take here to hopefully help him on a more holistic level. For now, I would start him on liver protectants such as Denamarin, proanthozone, as well as fatty acids such as Nordic naturals pet omega 3, all which you can get from 1800petmeds. If you would like to consult further, please contact me on the contact information on my website for more individualized holistic approaches on this case.

  32. Our 3 yr old ragdoll cat, Max, weighs 15 lbs and take Prednisolone 2.5 mg. I have been able to wean him down to 1.25 mg or off for a few weeks at a time. Then he will have a flair of his inflammatory bowel disease, loose smelly stools and vomiting, and I have to put him on 2.5 BID for a few days, then back to 1.25. Is it better to just leave him on the 2.5, as he seems to just sail along beautifully? No signs of Cushings except for increased thirst. He has been on Pred for about 8 months. Also, what other meds for IBD would you recommend? The one’s my Vet suggested, seem to have a lot of side effects as well. I know there is a good chance he will develop Diabetes later on, but I will deal with that when and if it happens. Thanks

    • HI Barb. What I would try and do is work with your local traditional veterinarian on weaning your cat Max on to the lowest dose of prednisone that controls his clinical signs. Some cats will do fine on low dose every other day therapy, while others need daily therapy of some sort. This is a chronic disease, which conventional, allopathic medicine does NOT cure, but controls, as well as the nature of chronic disease is to flare up periodically on its own and then die down, so I would not automatically make dose adjustments unless the GI symptoms flareup intensely and/or persist. As for other supportive measures, you can ask your vet to teach you how to give vitamin B12 shots under the skin once weekly at home, which can help with many cats’ chronic management of inflammatory bowel disease. Some vets will also keep cats on low dose or periodic intestinal antibiotic/anti inflammatory therapy, such as prescription metronidazole, or tylan powder. Other vets will occasionally use stronger drugs in IBD management such as chlorambucil or cyclosporine, but as you mentioned, there are increased side effects with these drugs long term. I would make sure diagnosis has been definitively made if your pet is on long term pred; i.e IBD requires intestinal biopsy either via scope or exploratory surgery for definitive diagnosis, especially if you are considering long term pred use. I would also have him on supportive probiotics such as fortilflora or naturevet enzymes from 1800petmeds. I would also consider working with a constitutional homeopath like myself or another in your area who can potentially offer other options here holistically from diet or therapy perspective, To learn more about homeopathy, see http://www.drpitcairn.com Also see info on my website http://www.doctordym.com. Many homeopathic vets do offer phone consultations

  33. My 10 yr old Morkie has a perianal tumor that the vet says is inoperable. He is on 2.5 mg of prednisone every day once a day. He does have side effects like panting, back leg weakness when he tries to jump and excessive thirst but other than that, he seems fine. I hate having him on this med but when I even try to take him off of it for one day, the tumor flares up and he has horrible pain because of the fistulas that form. I can’t stand seeing him in pain. My question is this. How long will he be able to take the prednisone before it completely stops working.

  34. Last week I took our 10 year old Beagle, to the vet, his neck was swollen. X rays were taken and I was told he had pneumonia and a possible ruptured esophagus. He was put on rimadyl chewables, plus given a injection of Rimadyl and a 80mg injecyion of Convenia. He had to go back and see the vet in 2 days. When I took him back a lot of the swelling in his neck had gone away and the vet could feel his lymph nods. She aspirated and soon told me he had lymphoma. At that point she took him off all antibiotics and put him on Prednisone 20mg once a day for 14 days and then 1/2 a pill long term.. He weights 41.6#. I am having a hard time believing the diagonisis since she told me the x ray showed pneumonia. I have read all the side effects on dogs taking prednisone. Is the dosage he is getting high? Is there something else he can take to help the swelling? I feel that by giving the prednisone that I am putting something in his system that really isn’t good for him long term. Any suggestion you can give would be greatly appreciated

    • I forgot to mention that his belly now seem bloated and his breathing seem wezzzy.

    • Hi Cyndi. If your vet did indeed aspirate the lymph node, and got back a diagnosis of lymphoma, then that was the original disease that was there when you first took the beagle in. Your vet was just trying to treat the more benign condition and hoping it was an infection and/or inflammation, rather than cancer. As for pneumonia, most likely the changes on the x rays are related to the cancer, however in regards to your concerns about prednisone, i do think that pred offers a better chance at improved quality of life, if your pet has been diagnosed with cancer. While this drug wont cure him alone, it can shrink nodes and help him feel better. I would use a BETTER antibiotic moving forward to cover any residual bacterial issues, such as Baytril or doxycycline, in my opinion and experience. Ask your vet about these. Also consider asking your vet about referral to a veterinary specialist or oncologist, who can offer you other options to better treat any cancer present for best potential long term results.

  35. My 10 yr old Morkie has a perianal tumor that the vet says is inoperable. He is on 2.5 mg of prednisone every day once a day. He does have side effects like panting, back leg weakness when he tries to jump and excessive thirst but other than that, he seems fine. I hate having him on this med but when I even try to take him off of it for one day, the tumor flares up and he has horrible pain because of the fistulas that form. I can’t stand seeing him in pain. My question is this. How long will he be able to take the prednisone before it completely stops working.

    • Every pet is different in terms of duration of effect of prednisone, etc in situation like this. You can certainly ask your vet about additional supportive pain medications such as gabapentin or tramadol which your vet may consider

  36. I have a 9lb 6 year old Malti-Poo. He was playing fine on the 30th and being his normal playful self. That night he was shaking and the next day we took him to the emergency clinic. After 6 different vets, 3 diagnosis and 1 specialist, they believe he has Auto Immune Arthritis. They gave him 5mg of Prednisone that he is to take 2 times daily. They have also gave him a shot of Dexamethazone a few times, after he receives that shot he is good for about a day and half or two days. Then it wears off and he seems to be hurting again. Even though he is taking the Prednisone twice a day. After taking the Prednisone his breathing is very rapid. He takes deep breathes through his nose while trying to sleep which scares us. This goes on for close to 5 hours after he takes a pill. Why does the Dex seem to work so well but not the Prednisone? Also, they bumped us up to 7.5 two times a day for 1 day, his breathing was really bad then but the next day he seemed to do a little better. Also, is there anything we can give him to help with the breathing? His Urine test came back positive for protein as well. I was reading that Prednisone can cause the urine test to read high on protein?

    • On rare occasions, some pets can be more sensitive to or respond to one form of cortisone whether dexamethasone or prednisone. Panting/heavy breathing can be side effect of steroid or related to ongoing discomfort. You can ask your vet about other immuno suppressive drugs to see if appropriate such as atopica or cyclosporine, amongst many others. I would not worry about protein in urine at this point as he has chronic inflammatory condition right now

  37. So my Big Baby Jax is a Great Dane and has developed a form of IBD, he is the 4th Dane I have owned and I have never had this issue. It went on for about 5 months, a ton of different foods, antibiotics etc and a new vet. He is now and has been on 3 tablets of 20 Mil of prednisone twice a day, which is YES 120 Mil a day for two months. Granted he was normally 160-165 lbs normal weight and lost to 116 lbs and now back up to 128 lbs. His poop is now a solid once again after months of horrible diarrhea. He Is 5 years old now and I want quality of life at this point since they do not live long lives, I’m weighing the good and bad with the steroids. Every time we try to even cut him back by one pill less he diverts to having tummy issues pretty quickly. We have tried cutting him back twice now. Half at 3 once a day and this time 3 once a day and 2 at night, which is 5 total and it’s doing the same thing. This has depleted me financially but he is my child. Any suggestions would be more than appreciated.

    • I would have a local veterinary internal medicine specialist review the workup done to date, as well as see if any further testing i.e ultrasound and/or endoscopy of digestive tract needs to be done. You could also ask them about a steroid like medicine known as Budesonide, which many internists try as pred alternative. You can also ask about additional immunosuppressive options for possibly chronic IBD such as atopica(cyclosporine), or Chlorambucil to name two others. The prescription antibiotic Tylan Powder also may help quell digestive symptoms when used long term.

  38. Also just FYI I have noticed a little extra panting as a side effect and he was loosing control of his bladder and peeing a lot but it has either gotten less and better (peeing) or I’m just use to knowing even if I’m asleep, if he moves to jump up and let him outside. He is an INDOOR dog. I actually think it’s both, maybe his body has adjusted to where the peeing is more controllable, Only side effects thus far I have noticed. Knock on wood.

  39. My 14 year old dachshund is diabetic and is now having a problem with an inflamed nostril. He has been sneezing and snorting and having trouble breathing for a month now. He has been on antihistamines and antibiotics, but nothing has helped. He was also tested for cancer, but thankfully it came out negative. However, because nothing has helped him my vet wants him on 5mg of prednisone for 10 days and then start weaning him off, but I’m very concerned because of his diabetes. Will him being on prednisone for this time period hurt him? I don’t want him ending up with anymore diseases. He has been through so much in his 14 years.

    • I would not reach for prednisone as a first line drug of choice on case like this, given the diabetes. I would ask vet about other alternatives such as the prescription nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drug like piroxicam, which many vet specialists have used for nasal inflammation. Also even cerenia has been used off label for dogs with inflammation of nose/rhinitis. I would ask your vet to refer you to vet specialist in your area, as there may be other issues going on here such as nasal polyp, foreign body and/or even small tumor that vet specialist can detect using small endoscope up nose

      • Oliver is currently on 5 mg prednisone and is now being weaned off. We can tell that it has not helped him. We do have a recommended specialist that we will be taking him to. I looked up the alternative drugs you recommended and can see how piroxicam may help the nasal inflammation, but I don’t quite understand how cerenia can help since it clearly states that it is used for motion sickness. Also, since his vet took an X-ray of his nostril, wouldn’t that have shown a foreign body inside his nostril if he does have something up there irritating it?

        • Hi Dina. There have been many vet specialists including a publication from the renowned Animal Medical Center in NY city that has published info on using cerenia off label for lots of issues, including inflammation of nostrils in dogs. X rays WONT show foreign bodies most of the time, as special scopes up the nose are often needed. If cancer is possibly diagnosed, you would ask your vet specialist about drug called Palladia, which I have had a few excellent palliative response in clinical practice in a few cases of nasal cancer. While this latter drug is used for mast cell cancer, many oncologists have found its use off label helpful for other cancers, and it does not have the huge amount of side effects that other chemo drugs have. Good luck

  40. After an ultrasound and xrays, my 12 year old male cat was diagnosed with “possible” abdominal carcinomatosis based on radiographic appearance. I opted not to order biopsies because he was in alot of abdominal pain and I knew I wouldn’t start chemo and just wanted to bring him home to be comfortable. He was put on 5mg daily of prednisolone, 2.5 mg twice a day. That was 2 weeks ago and he is back to his normal self and feeling great. I haven’t noticed any side effects yet. On the prescription, it said the usual goal is to slowly taper the medication to the level that controls the disease minizmizing the side effects. I’m hesitant to lower the dose as he is doing so great and I’ve done research and it seems that 5mg a day is not a large dose for an 11 pound cat. Is it okay to leave him on this dosage long term or should I try to lower the dosage to 2.5 mg/day? I don’t want him to relapse. Thank you.

    • Hi Barbara. I do agree with you. 5 mg prednisone does not seem like a high dose for cat of 11 pounds. Given that the disease is not in remission, but that he is being controlled and feeling better, I would tend to keep him on same dose, but only your local vet, who prescribed the medication and whose care he is under, can make that decision.

  41. 10 wk old puppy is on Drontal Plus for giardia. Today is her third of three pills. I gave her 1/2 Comboguard this am, 1/2 to be given this evening but I forgot about the last Drontal. Is this too much medication for one little 5 lb puppy? She seems fine though slept a ton today. Should I wait till tomorrow to give other half of Comboguard? Help!

    • HI Jane. I would check with your local vet who prescribed the drontal plus, but I dont see a problem in waiting the one extra day, as does sound like lots of meds for a 5 pound puppy at the same time to me.

  42. I have a 11-year-old Maltese who was diagnosed two months ago with mast cell tumor… He has one on his side once aspirated and diagnosed about three more popped up on his tummy but very small… Doctor wanted to remove it I decided against it… Did some research have been giving him 12.5 mg of Benadryland half Tagamet in morning and night… To help with histamine and acidity in stomach… Sometimes it looks like he’s in pain so I wondered doctor did give me 5 mg prednisone… I have not given him any yet… Will it hurt on days which are few at this timewhen I think he feels bad… To give him just one predisone? I also tried giving him turmeric every few days and Krill oil every few days…just wanting things to be more natural… Max is 11.5 pounds usually with a lot of energy just been a little slower lately but we still do 2 miles every few days but get out and walk every day. Is prednisone OK to give once in a whilehope to hear from someone soon thank you

    • HI Betty. I would follow your local vetewrinarian’s prescription recommendations regarding your maltese’s treatment of mast cell tumor,, regarding prednisone, etc In my opinion and experience, if you choose to use prednisone, it should not be given on an occasional basis for mast cell tumors, but on a consistent basis and dosing, at least initially. I encourage you exploring more holistic options of treatment as well, including homeopathy and nutritional therapies. To learn more about homeopathy, see the booklet on the website http://www.beyondflatearth.com as well as the info on my website http://www.doctordym.com Many homeopathic vets do offer phone consultations.

  43. Hello Dr. Dym, My 17 year old rat terrier was just diagnosed with lymphoma (stage 4). He is on prednisone 5mg 2x daily for 30days and leukeran (2mg) every other for 30 days and is feeling much better. (at the end of the month we’ll assess how the treatment is working). My question is: Is it ok to give a canine formula probiotic at the same time as well as vitamin drops? I am feeding him 3 to 4 times a day as he just regained his appetite but had the wasting so he is very skinny. Should I put it in the meal that doesn’t contain medicine or is it ok at the same time. My boy’s heart is strong. He’s regained his connection to life since the meds so I’m hopeful that I will get some more quality time with him. Thank you for your time and attention!

    • Sorry Beth to hear of your pet’s diagnosis. At least he is feeling better for now with the pred. I have no problem with the probiotic or vitamins. I would use it in the meal without the medicine. Also consider additional supplements for his immune system such as Transfer Factor for dogs or New Zealand Bovine Colostrum Hemp Rx CBD oil by Rx Vitamins also can help his comfort, etc

  44. hi
    IN September our 6 year old beagle came out of kennel in the morning very slugest, and he felt hot. We got him to emergency they did blood work on him and found out he had zero platlets. So they started him on treatment with 50mg of predisone and another drug I don’t remember the name. Then for 5 days I had to take him in for blood work , and very slowly he got some platlets, but not nearly up to nomal. After that my regular vet took over and every 2 weeks we took him for a blood test, where it finally just got up to normal after 2 months. Then I took him back and it just decreased back to critical levels. So they took him off the other drug and put him on 50 mg cyclosporin still while he was on 50mg of predisone. Again same thing happened we went every 2 weeks for blood work and it got better then it dropped, got better then dropped after 2 months. so then we noticed blood in his poop. So the vet said it might just be a side effect of the cyclosporine. so another months went by after doing blood work and it was up and down. So I switched vets.
    The other vet slowly took him off the cylosporin and kept him on the 50mg of predisone. After another month his platlets levels went up . So this was great, with the blood in his poop he was losing platlets. So in the last while I would still take him in every 2 weeks for blood work and they started lowing his predisone and we were down to 25mg every 2 days and his platlets levels were at 230,000. we thought this was great. So were down to 10 mg a day and took him for his blood work last Saturday and I got a call on Thursday saying his level dropped to 129,000. and got told to go back up to 25mg a day. It doesn ‘t all make sense to us. is it really harmful to him to be on the predisone this long, and what are the long term effects for him. what else could be causing this. He is a very happy dog, and doesn’t look sick at all . We love him very much , and will do just about anything for him. Thanks for listening.

    • Hi Tom.. It does sound like you love your dog. I would be under care of a local veterinary internal medicine specialist in your area who can help manage case long term. A Platelet count of 129l,000 does not concern me, as clinical bleeding does not occur until platelets are below 30,000. Numbers also can fluctuate in a patient with this disease. Many pets can be maintained on low dose pred for years without problem. Other drugs that may be helpful if relapses are azothioprine, as well as chlorambucil I would also consider supplementing with melatonin at dose of 3 to 5 mg twice daily long term, which may help with platelet numbers and many specialists use.

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