Health conditions related to inflammation in dogs can result in several unpleasant symptoms, including pain and severe itching. Luckily, there are a few medications that can help with inflammation, two of the most common being prednisolone or prednisone for dogs. But, what’s the difference between these two steroids? Although prednisone and prednisolone are two distinct medications, prednisone must be converted into prednisolone by liver enzymes before the drug can work. Therefore, they’re considered to be pharmaceutical equivalents, meaning they have the same essential functions.
Prednis-Tab®, Deltasone®, Rayos®, Pediapred®) is a glucocorticoid used to treat many conditions in many species. Broad uses include the following: replacement therapy for Addison’s disease, an anti-inflammatory, an immune suppressant, and an antineoplastic (cancer treatment). Although they are distinct drugs, prednisone is quickly converted to prednisolone in the liver, so they are considered bioequivalent (equally absorbed).
While some products are labeled for use in some animals with certain conditions, its use in cats, dogs, horses, small mammals, birds, and reptiles to treat inflammation, immune-mediated disease, Addison’s disease, and neoplasia is often ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.
Uses/benefits of Prednisone For Dogs
Prednisone and prednisolone treat a wide variety of diseases and disorders in dogs, and vets can prescribe them for many conditions, often as supplemental treatment. Most often, vets prescribe them to treat Addison’s disease a condition where a dog’s adrenal glands don’t produce enough natural steroid hormones in the body. Prednisone and prednisolone also treat autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), because of their ability to suppress immune system responses. Their immune suppressing qualities make these drugs effective in treating allergic reactions, including those that cause skin irritation or itching.
The anti-inflammatory properties of these drugs make them useful for treatments of many other conditions, including some forms of cancer, arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and skin diseases. Vets may also prescribe them to treat central nervous system disorders, high blood calcium levels, or shock.
Features of Prednisone For Dogs
Prednisone is a prescription steroid used to treat a broad range of conditions in dogs. Many veterinarians prescribe the use of prednisone for dogs as an anti-inflammatory and immune suppressant. Due to these properties of prednisone in dogs, the drug is highly effective at treating conditions such as:
- Allergic reactions
- Hives and itching
- Skin diseases
- High calcium levels
- Orthopedic diseases
- Nervous system disorders
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Autoimmune diseases, including lupus and autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA)
Additional uses of prednisone for dogs include replacement therapy for endocrine disorders such as Addison’s disease, as well as antineoplastic treatment for some neoplasia (cancer). It may also be used during emergency situations in response to spinal cord trauma, anaphylactic reactions, and several forms of shock.
Prednisone Side Effects
- Systemic side-effects of corticosteroids generally are dependent on dose and duration of treatment. Short-term use of prednisone is unlikely to cause adverse effects. Adverse effects are more common in animals on immunosuppressive doses.
- Dogs: Side effects seen in dogs include polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, poor hair coat, GI disturbance, diarrhea, vomiting, weight gain, GI ulceration, pancreatitis, lipidemia, elevated liver enzymes, diabetes mellitus, muscle wasting, and possible behavioral changes. Polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia may be seen in dogs even on short-term therapy.
- Cats: Although cats are less likely to develop side effects than dogs, occasionally polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, weight gain, GI disturbances, and behavioral changes occur.
- Corticosteroids can cause or worsen gastric ulcers.
- Chronic or inappropriate use of corticosteroids, including prednisone, can cause life-threatening hormonal and metabolic changes.
- Adverse effects due to corticosteroid treatment usually occur with long-term administration of the drug, especially when high doses are used. Alternate day therapy with short-acting preparations is preferred. Animals that have received long-term therapy should be withdrawn slowly by tapering the dosage and prolonging the interval between doses.
- Corticosteroids suppress immune response. Animals receiving systemic corticosteroids may be more susceptible to bacterial or viral infections. Systemic corticosteroids can mask signs of infection, such as an elevated temperature.
- Systemic corticosteroids are contraindicated in patients with systemic fungal infections. The treatment of Addison’s Disease may be considered an exception.
- Prednisone must be converted to prednisolone in the liver. Animals in hepatic failure should receive prednisolone rather than prednisone.
- Corticosteroids should be avoided or used very carefully in young animals both because of immune suppression and the risk of GI ulcers.
- Corticosteroids have been implicated as a cause of laminitis in horses and ponies. Some corticosteroids are thought to be more likely to cause laminitis than others and prednisone historically has not been considered to be in the higher-risk category. Pony breeds may be more susceptible to developing laminitis than horses.
- Although corticosteroids may be used in healthy older horses, they should not be used in horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction. These horses already may have high levels of natural corticosteroids and are prone to laminitis and suppressed immune function.
- Corticosteroids should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Large doses in early pregnancy may be teratogenic. Corticosteroids can induce labor and have been used to terminate pregnancy in bitches.
Prices of Prednisone For Dogs
$15.00 – $30.00