safety medical

Prednisone for Dogs: Side Effects, Dosage

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that is very common in dogs, more common in certain breeds such as Terriers, Boxers, Hounds and Rottweiler's. It circulates throughout the body by way of the lymphatic system, creating tumors on the skin, chest or stomach. Unfortunately, these growths can also occur within the internal gastrointestinal tract, liver and bone marrow. Prednisone is a common treatment that has proven to be somewhat effective over the short term.

Prednisone Side Effects in Dogs

The side effects of Prednisone vary as widely as the breeds of dogs who suffer from this affliction. Some common side effects include:

  • Increased appetite and water intake
  • Increased urination
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of sheen to the coat
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Vomiting
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Changes in behavior, restlessness, aggressiveness
  • Development of Diabetes due to the use of Prednisone leading to insulin resistance
  • Cushing's Disease

Cushing's Disease can be a very serious side effect, resulting in your dog's production of increased levels of cortisone. This leads to an impaired immune system, stemming from this hormonal imbalance. Impaired immunity can lead to all sorts of other illnesses.

Prednisone is not a cure for Lymphoma in dogs. This treatment program may only elongate your pet's lifespan for 2-3 months. Often this drug is prescribed along with other chemotherapy treatments which may increase the life of your pet for up to a year.

Prednisone Dosage for Dogs

As with humans, the dosage prescribed for your dog will vary, depending on a number of factors. Some of these might include:

  • The age of your pet
  • The breed and size of your pet
  • The condition for which Prednisone is being prescribed
  • How well the canine responds to the treatment program
  • How effectively the prescribed medication is administered by the dog's master

Dosages may vary in strength and may change over the course of the treatment program as dictated by the dog's veterinarian. Common amounts might be as low as only 1 mg per dose but may range as high as 50 mg per dose.

Your veterinarian will prescribe a very strict schedule for which to administer the Prednisone. It is highly critical to stay on track and to not miss scheduled doses. However, unplanned events sometimes do occur which cause us to miss administering the drug to our ill pup. There will usually be a small window of opportunity for fluctuation in the schedule, allowing for the Prednisone to still be administered without negatively affecting the treatment program. But owners are instructed to never double the dosage to make up for previously missed doses.

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