Can I stop giving my dog prednisone?

Do not stop giving your pet prednisone or prednisolone abruptly; particularly if it has been receiving high doses or has been on the drug for a long period of time. This can cause serious, even life-threatening consequences. The dose must be tapered.

Prednisone and prednisolone, which is the active form of prednisone, have a long history of use in veterinary medicine and are effective for treating a wide range of ailments and medical conditions. Prednisone was one of the only medications available to many pets a generation or two ago. Prednisone was once used for numerous conditions, but now there are medications that are more specifically targeted for each of those issues.

But due to its quick onset, potent effects, accessibility, and well-established track record, prednisone is still a medication that many veterinarians use to treat dogs.

A synthetic steroid with a long history of use in veterinary medicine is called prednisone. It is specifically a glucocorticoid, which means that it mimics the effects of cortisol on the body. Despite being frequently linked to stress, the naturally occurring hormone cortisol also plays a key role in numerous critical functions, including regulating homeostasis, preventing inflammation, and fat and protein metabolism.

Prednisone is a prodrug, which means that it must be converted by the body into prednisolone in order to be used. Both forms of the drug may be used because dogs (like humans) can easily perform this metabolism. Prednisolone should be administered to horses and cats instead because their livers are less effective at processing prednisone. The drugs are regarded as being bioequivalent because they have the same effects on the body, and are therefore discussed together.

Both your veterinarian and your regular pharmacy carry prednisone. Depending on the prednisone type and use, your regular veterinarian or a specialist may prescribe it. Prednisolone acetate solution, the steroid eye drop, occasionally spikes in price or is hard to find.

Prednisone is typically prescribed as a generic drug, so the tablets’ and liquid’s appearance varies depending on the lab that made it. Call your veterinarian or the pharmacy that filled the prescription if you have any doubts about whether you have the correct medication.

Prednisone and prednisolone mimic the action of the hormone cortisol to produce their desired effects. Due to this, it’s crucial to gradually reduce (taper) your dog’s medication dosage rather than stopping it all at once.

The body may stop producing its own cortisol when taking prednisone. Prednisone or prednisolone use in dogs should never be abruptly stopped due to the risk of dangerously low cortisol levels, which can have severe or even fatal consequences.

The Signs of Stopping Prednisone Too Quickly in Dogs

There isn’t a lot of information available on the signs of too-rapid tapering in dogs. However, these signs of a hurried taper are well known for people taking prednisone:

  • Severe shaking, fatigue, weakness, and aching. For example, if your dog trembles, seems more lethargic than usual, is sleeping all the time, doesnt want to move much, or if they seem like theyre in pain.
  • Digestive issues. For example, if the dog seems nauseous, vomits, has diarrhea, or shows little interest in food.
  • Lightheadedness. If your dog seems dizzy, has trouble walking, or flops down mid-walk.
  • Increased thirst or urination.
  • These are some warning signs to be aware of rather than guarantees that your dog is weaning off prednisone too quickly.

    An infographic of the signs that a dog is being weaned off prednisone too quickly.

    What Is Prednisone Used for in Dogs?

    Prednisone is a corticosteroid, or steroid hormone drug that falls under a class called glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids occur naturally in the bodies of nearly all animals and play an essential role in regulating metabolism, immune system function, and inflammation.

    A synthetic glucocorticoid called prednisone is used to treat a variety of ailments in various animal species. It is highly regarded in particular for its capacity to diminish inflammation and restrain an overactive immune system.

    Prednisolone, a comparable medication, and prednisone are sometimes used interchangeably. Prednisone is converted into prednisolone in the liver. Prednisolone is sometimes prescribed instead of prednisone by veterinarians to lessen hepatic stress in dogs with liver disease.

    Prednisone is frequently prescribed in veterinary medicine to treat the following conditions:

  • Inflammation
  • Immune-mediated disorders
  • Addisons disease
  • Allergic reactions
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Skin conditions
  • Shock
  • Central nervous system disorders (especially brain and spinal inflammation)
  • What Are Potential Prednisone Side Effects in Dogs?

    If you’ve ever used a steroid medication, you’ve probably encountered some negative side effects. The majority of people also experience severe hunger and thirst, as well as mood swings and insomnia. Prednisone side effects vary depending on the dog and the dosage, but they frequently resemble human side effects.

    Prednisone typically causes dogs to urinate and drink more frequently, as well as have ravenous appetites that can result in weight gain. Restlessness and panting may also occur. These symptoms should go away once the medication is stopped and can gradually get better as the dog gets used to the medication.

    Fresh water should be available to dogs taking prednisone, but excessive amounts should not be consumed at once as this could result in vomiting or regurgitation. Make sure your dog has more opportunities to go outside and relieve herself because more drinking equals more pee. Your dog will likely beg for food and be extremely hungry, but you should resist the urge to give it to him because doing so could lead to weight gain. Think about giving your dog smaller, more frequent meals or some low-calorie treats throughout the day.

    More serious problems could result from prolonged use or high dosages. Prednisone may have an effect on the digestive system, resulting in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and GI ulceration or bleeding. Dogs with Cushings syndrome may develop a pot-bellied appearance, a poor coat, or hair loss. Prednisone may eventually result in an increase in liver enzymes that causes liver dysfunction. If you experience any severe side effects, call your vet right away. Your vet may change the dosage or switch to a different medication.

    Prednisone also has a very broad range of dosages that it can be used for. The proper dosage is determined by the dog’s weight and the condition being treated. In order to prevent complications and side effects, veterinarians generally try to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time.

    Your dog’s dosage will be determined by your veterinarian, who will also provide instructions on how to administer it correctly. Prednisone is typically administered to dogs orally as a pill, though liquid forms are available for puppies or in very small doses. Dogs are frequently given moderate to high doses to begin with, which are then gradually tapered off until they can be discontinued. Prednisone can be used to treat some conditions for a brief period of time, but it cannot be used to treat all conditions.

    To monitor the effects of prednisone on your dog’s body, particularly with long-term treatment, your veterinarian may advise lab testing. By doing so, the veterinarian will be able to spot small changes and change the dose before complications arise.

    It’s crucial to adhere to your veterinarian’s instructions for prednisone dosage and administration. Avoid abrupt stopping of this medication as it may result in withdrawal symptoms and other health issues. Prednisone decreases cortisol production by the adrenal glands, which is why. The dog’s body won’t have enough steroid hormones to regulate vital bodily functions without the prednisone. The adrenal glands can gradually modify cortisol production by reducing the dose.

    Prednisone has a wide range of safe doses, so an overdose in dogs is unlikely to have long-lasting negative effects. Prednisone ingestion in dogs often results in gastrointestinal distress that worsens as the drug leaves the body. Prednisone can result in serious GI ulcers and bleeding at high doses.

    If your dog accidentally took too much prednisone, you shouldn’t be alarmed, but you should seek immediate advice from a veterinarian. Call a pet poison control service like ASPCA Animal Poison Control or Pet Poison Helpline, or try your local veterinarian or animal emergency center. If an excessive amount was consumed, the veterinarian might advise you to induce vomiting. In order to manage symptoms, additional ongoing supportive care may be required.

    Prednisone or prednisolone shouldn’t be taken with certain medications. Other drugs should be used with caution. Tell your veterinarian about all current medications and nutritional supplements your pets are taking. Prednisone may interact with a wide range of medications, but the following are the most frequent ones:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (carprofen, aspirin)
  • Other steroid medications
  • Digoxin
  • Diuretics
  • Insulin
  • Ketoconazole
  • Mitotane (Lysodren)
  • Phenobarbital
  • FAQ

    How do I wean my dog off prednisone?

    It is typically dosed in a “blast” at first and then gradually tapered off. Prednisone dosage guidelines might look like this: Give 1/2 a tablet twice daily for five days, then 1/2 a tablet once daily for five days, then 1/2 a tablet every other day until the medication is finished.

    What happens if you don’t taper prednisone in dogs?

    Avoid abrupt stopping of this medication as it may result in withdrawal symptoms and health issues. Prednisone decreases cortisol production by the adrenal glands, which is why. The dog’s body won’t have enough steroid hormones to regulate vital bodily functions without the prednisone.

    How long should my dog be on prednisone?

    Most dogs only require prednisone for a few weeks, so how long can a dog stay on it? Depending on your dog’s size, taking prednisone for longer than a month or two is regarded as a long-term use of the medication. Some dogs do need prednisone for life.

    What happens if you stop steroids abruptly in dogs?

    The Addisonian crisis, which occurs when the body is unable to produce enough cortisol to maintain all of the functions this hormone is involved in, can result from abruptly stopping steroids. An Addisonian crisis can result in coma or death. Prednisone may have adverse effects in dogs, such as increased thirst and urination.