When something is wrong with your doggo, pet owners often find themselves quickly spiraling into a panic. A timely trip to the veterinarian will often leave dog owners feelings more calm in one sense, per say, but potentially more concerned in other aspects.
What are these medications? Are they all really necessary? Why is there a laundry list of associated side effects?
Again, we understand what a worrisome time this can be for you. First, your four-legged love pup is sick, which is bad even on its own. But to add to that, you now have to make difficult choices regarding which medication is the right one for your pup.
The fine print may read that your dog’s allergy drug may also have negative, long-term side effects. Unfortunately, many drugs that we use to help our dogs feel better may have some serious side effects. This might not make sense, but it is the reality of many conventional medications.
In this article, we are breaking down the popular steroid drug - prednisone. We hope we can answer all of your questions and concerns regarding prednisone. We want to help our readers become better educated on the medication so that they can make the best decisions as possible in terms of their pup’s health.
Prednisone is a synthetic steroid that is commonly prescribed to treat a wide variety of illnesses. In fact, you may have heard of this steroid before as it’s commonly prescribed to humans.
Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory drug and plays a key role in reducing inflammation in dogs and humans alike.
For instance, prednisone is often prescribed to treat inflammation and inflammatory conditions like neoplasia, asthma, arthritis, Addison’s disease, and anaphylactic shock.
Corticosteroids are often referred to as steroids. Cortisone, a corticosteroid, for example, is a steroidal hormone that is produced in the adrenal cortex of vertebrates.Corticosteroids are involved in many activities in your dog’s body, such as:
These steroid hormones can too be produced synthetically, often in the form of prednisone.
Prednisone is very similar to cortisol (a naturally-produced adrenal hormone), but more potent. Cortisol is released in response to a stress occurrence. This release is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). Essentially what happens is this: when the body senses stress, the hypothalamus starts a chain reaction that leads to a release of cortisol by the adrenal glands.
When a dog has an illness that lowers natural and healthy levels of cortisol, a synthetic form of cortisol (like prednisone) is often required.
Steroids are synthetic drugs that are formulated to resemble the naturally produced cortisol and are used typically for medicinal purposes.
But aren’t steroids what people use illegally in sports or competition? These steroids are anabolic steroids, formulated to resemble testosterone.
However, steroids are also important in Western medicine to treat individuals suffering from a wide range of conditions.
Prednisone and prednisolone are corticosteroids that are used in treating inflammation and autoimmune diseases. They can help regulate the immune system.
Once a pet parent administers the prednisone, the dog’s liver metabolizes the medication into prednisolone.
If your pup has a pre-existing live condition, or any form of liver dysfunction for that manner, or even high liver enzymes, then your vet will likely prescribe prednisolone instead of prednisone.
By prescribing prednisolone, the vet can ensure that your pup is able to absorb and process the drug safely and effectively.
Prednisone is typically used in the treatment of the following ailments:
Common side effects of prednisone include:
If your vet prescribes prednisone for a long duration ( > 4 months), make sure that you are regularly taking your pup to see the vet to monitor long-term effects, like liver and kidney dysfunction.
Here’s a list of potential adverse effects of long-term prednisone and prednisolone usage:
Most vet medical experts state that the use of prednisolone and prednisone should be used only for a short term and more so even at small doses to reduce the possibility of potential adverse reactions.
You may not notice one specific side effect of prednisone. However, that one little symptom can turn into multiple overnight. This is why it’s extremely important for dog parents to be aware of the potential side effects to be able to know what to look for.
Common doses of prednisone and prednisolone are:
Your vet will take into consideration your dog’s specific condition and needs to determine the exact dose your pup will need.
Furthermore, it’s extremely important that pet owners do not miss a dose when administering the steroid.
Prednisone for dogs must be given at the same time of the day (or as close as possible to the same time) and at even time intervals (i.e. every 12 hours).
Again, prednisone is used when the body is not sufficiently making enough cortisol on its own. However, do note, prednisone is not intended for permanent use for the deficiency.
Luckily, there are other options. As dog parents we are fortunate enough to be living in a time where we have natural alternatives available.
Everyday, more holistic options are making way in the world of natural remedies (hashtag grateful).
Although CBD is our favorite all-natural remedy, we want to provide you pet parents with information on other supplemental herbs that can benefit your doggo.
Turmeric is a great herbal solution for a wide array of inflammatory conditions. It has an anti-inflammatory effect without the potential toxic adverse effects. Turmeric is also great for pet owners (aka you)!
This herbal supplement is definitely one you want to look into. Yucca root contains beneficial levels of the following:
Furthermore, studies have shown that yucca root alleviates allergies and arthritis and joint pain. Also, yucca root has been shown to boost your pup’s appetite.
However, do note that you should not give your pup yucca root on a daily basis. Too much yucca root may potentially irritate their digestive tract.
This natural herb is a great way to give your pup’s immune system a boost. It’s best to use echinacea on and off for optimal results.
Have you heard of this incredible root? Well, get ready to be amazed. Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin (which functions as a natural corticosteroid). The herb stimulates the secretion of hormones in the adrenal gland. Aka, it aids in the production of the same hormones that prednisone aims to produce, except licorice root is all-naturale. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and reduces swelling. WIN. It helps ease skin conditions and common skin allergy symptoms.
Another excellent way to reduce inflammation and the associated pain and swelling? Ginger, my friends. The herbal solution blocks the body from producing chemicals.
This herb can reduce bone inflammation in an effective, healthy, and you guessed it - in a natural way.
It’s easy to forget the importance of a healthy diet (in both us humans and our fur babies). We should think of food as a means of healing. Raw food diets have the necessary nutrients for your doggo to live their best life. Consult with your vet to devise a raw food diet that is best for your pup.
At the end of the day, we understand your needs to ensure that your pup is living their best life possible. For this to be possible, as paw parents, we have to know as much as possible about what we are giving our fur babies.
Understanding the dangers of conventional medications is not an effort to concern or scare you, but rather to educate you on what’s going on out there. So all in all, don’t forget to consider a holistic, natural source of healing for your pup. You won’t regret it one bit