Prednisone Killed My Dog

If a dog has inflammation-related ailments, most vets will prescribe prednisone. This medication has saved the lives of many dogs, according to vets, but how come it did not work for your dog? It is so heartbreaking to lose your pet for whatever reason. Let’s discuss everything about prednisone, how it works, its side effects, and the possible reasons why it can lead to death.

What is prednisone for dogs?

Prednisone is a type of synthetic glucocorticoid. It is a medication made in the lab and behaves similarly to the hormone cortisol, which occurs naturally in the body.

The liver changes prednisone into prednisolone, the drug’s active form. Prednisolone can also be artificially made in a lab. In addition, it may be administered in place of prednisone in some circumstances.

Prednisolone can be prescribed by a veterinarian if your dog’s liver function is impaired, even though prednisone and prednisolone are typically interchangeable in dogs. The Veterinary Information Network also points out that cats and horses may respond better to prednisolone than prednisone since they appear to have less effective activation mechanisms for prednisone.

Prednisone belongs to the corticosteroid class of medicines since it is a glucocorticoid. Corticosteroids mimic cortisol, a hormone that a dog’s adrenal glands naturally produce and regulates inflammation and overall homeostasis. When used to treat various issues, corticosteroids deliver higher doses of synthetic hormones than the adrenal glands alone can produce. Still, they can also serve as a partial replacement when the adrenal glands are not functioning properly.

What is prednisone used to treat? 

Prednisone can be used for the following reasons;


The anti-inflammatory effects of prednisone help treat various inflammatory disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease. The drug is frequently used for inflammation that causes painful joints and sensitive, itchy skin.

Prednisone is frequently used to treat diseases of the central nervous system brought on by injury or disk extrusion. In these situations, the medication is likely able to reduce spinal cord or brain swelling.

Canine cancer 

Prednisone is a chemotherapeutic drug that can be used to treat mast cell tumors, lymphoma, and other cancers in dogs.  

Prednisone has the ability to lessen the congestion, coughing, and laborious breathing brought on by nasal tumors and pulmonary metastasis, as well as significantly improve the clinical symptoms of brain tumors. Puppies with cancer are likely to have a lower quality of life and less energy and appetite. These cancer-related problems are also frequently treated with prednisone prescriptions.

Warning: Giving prednisone to dogs who might have cancer can make it more challenging to make a positive cancer diagnosis. Prednisone can also reduce the effectiveness of other chemotherapy protocols. Please extensively examine the repercussions of using prednisone as a cancer treatment with your vet.

Addison’s disease 

Since prednisone resembles cortisol, it is a good treatment for Addison’s disease or hypoadrenocorticism. The adrenal glands’ inability to produce hormones is one of this disease’s defining features. When a pup cannot produce enough glucocorticoid hormones on its own, prednisone can be used as a replacement medication.

The symptoms of Addison’s disease in dogs can be unclear and include occasional shaking, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Some dogs experience a severe crisis. They might throw up, experience diarrhea, and occasionally pass out. So, for the rest of their lives, dogs with Addison’s disease will need a small amount of prednisone every day. It imitates what the body should be doing independently but cannot. For them, this saves their lives.

Immune suppression 

Prednisone for dogs’ immunosuppressive effects aid in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. These are illnesses where the immune system is overactive and damaged.

Prednisone killed my dog

Below are some of the possible reasons why a dog can be killed by prednisone;

Underlying Health Conditions

For dogs with certain diseases, prednisone can be a life-saving drug, but it can also place additional stress on the body. In addition, prednisone use may be dangerous if a dog has underlying medical conditions, such as liver or kidney illness. Addressing any previous illnesses with a veterinarian before beginning Prednisone medication is critical because these health issues might not be immediately obvious.

An Allergic Reaction

Prednisone may trigger an allergic reaction in certain dogs, resulting in serious adverse effects or even death. An allergic reaction may cause breathing problems, swelling, hives, and vomiting.


Dogs with allergies, arthritis, or cancer may benefit from the powerful medicine prednisone, which is also recommended for several other ailments. To prevent overdosing, it’s crucial to adhere to the veterinarian’s dosage recommendations strictly. Prednisone overdose in dogs can result in serious side effects and even death.

Prolonged Use

Although long-term prednisone usage may harm a dog’s health, it can be useful in the short term. However, chronic prednisone usage can result in immune system deterioration, skin thinning, and other side effects, some of which are fatal.

Dosage Of Prednisone For Dogs

Prednisone dose varies depending on your dog’s disease, weight, and the type of prednisone you’re giving them.

For anti-inflammatory benefits, 0.5 milligrams per pound of body weight daily would be the optimal dosage. However, you should give your dog 1 mg per pound if you need to suppress its immune system. Using this data, the figure below determines the typical dosages. You should consult your vet before giving your dog any medication.

Weight (lbs)Daily Dosage (mg)

What are the short-term side effects of prednisone?

Prednisone’s most typical adverse effects include the following

  • Frequent urinating and drinking
  • Irritability
  • Changes in behavior or lethargy
  • Fluctuations in appetite
  • Panting
  • Vomiting
  • Water retention
  • Decreased capacity to combat infection
  • Delayed healing of wounds

Dogs who receive greater doses of prednisone are more likely to experience severe adverse effects, including ulcers.

Long-term side effects of prednisone in dogs

 Prolonged steroid use can result in Cushing’s disease. The adrenal glands overproduce several hormones as a result of Cushing’s disease. Here are some symptoms;

  • Frequent urination and water intake. 
  • UTI, skin, and ear infections. 
  • Thinning skin
  • Losing hair
  • Weak muscles
  • Obesity

Ask your vet whether you can taper off prednisone or try another medication if you suspect Cushing’s disease. Depending on your pet’s health, you might or might not be able to.        

How long can a dog stay on prednisone?

Prednisone is usually needed for a few weeks in dogs. However, depending on your dog’s size, taking prednisone for longer than a month or two is considered a long-term use of the medication.

Some dogs do require lifelong prednisone treatment. “Ideally, no dog or person would need to take medication for the rest of their lives, but there are situations in which this is required. Veterinaries advise against using steroids long-term, especially in large doses, because they can have negative side effects. In this situation, veterinarians advise routine blood testing to evaluate your pet’s liver enzymes and kidneys for normal function. This is typically done once a year.

Tapering of Prednisone

Unless a physiological dosage (0.2 mg/kg/day) is being used, which does not require tapering, prednisone should ideally be tapered from its original dosage. Unless a physiological dosage (0.2 mg/kg/day) is being utilized, which does not require tapering, prednisone should ideally be reduced from its original dosage.

Once immunosuppressive dosages have been initiated, the goal is to progressively taper off to a maintenance dose of 0.5 mg/kg every 48 hours of prednisone. To put it another way, if a dog is started on an immunosuppressive dose of prednisone (2 mg/kg/day), the dose should be cut in half (1 mg/kg/day) for two to three weeks. It should then be repeated every two to three weeks until the dosage reaches the maintenance dose (0.5 mg/kg every 48 hours).

Once the disease is under control, the maintenance dose should be continued. Before each dosage reduction, the condition being treated must be assessed. Prednisone should not be left at high doses because it can lead to several health issues, including gastric ulceration and sometimes death. 

Will my dog go back to normal after prednisone?

Depending on the illness being treated and the particular dog, a dog receiving prednisone treatment may eventually return to normal.

After the prednisone therapy, the problem could occasionally go away, and the dog might return to normal.

In other instances, the problem can necessitate continuous care, and the dog might not fully recover until the underlying cause is taken care of.

For guidance on the best course of action for a dog who has received prednisone medication, a veterinarian should be consulted.

Does Prednisolone Shorten Life?

There is no proof that prednisolone use shortens the lives of dogs or cats. Furthermore, there is no logical explanation for why this might happen.

Tips for dogs on prednisone

If possible, reduce the dose or switch medications.

Other synthetic corticosteroids exist but cannot be used interchangeably because each drug has different indications. You should administer the medication that your veterinarian has prescribed because not all steroids are made equal. Prednisone’s generic counterpart is not available over the counter. Prednisolone, cyclosporine, budesonide, and dexamethasone are a few of the often-used alternatives to prednisone. To make prednisone or one of the alternatives work for your dog, consult your veterinarian.

Administer the medication in the morning 

Prednisone must sometimes be taken twice daily, so you should plan for your pet’s bathroom trips. In addition, veterinarians advise against restricting drinks if your pet exhibits signs of extreme thirst.

Monitor your pet’s appetite 

Although veterinarians advise against changing your pet’s diet while taking steroids, an increased appetite could lead to unhealthful weight gain. Additionally, the increased appetite could make your pet beg or look for more food. Consult your veterinarian about food modifications that can help quench your pet’s increased appetite if you notice them gaining weight or if their behavior is changing as a result of the increased appetite.

What Should I Discuss With My Vet If My Dog Is Going To Take Prednisone?

The best thing to do while giving prednisone to your dog is to have an open discussion with your vet. 

Prednisone’s use will be explained in detail, so pay close attention and ask any questions you may have.

  • Find out how long your dog will be on prednisone and talk about the tapering schedule with your veterinarian.
  • Know the side effects that you should watch out for.
  • Keep an eye out for any negative effects on your pet and notify your veterinarian immediately.

Maintaining open lines of communication with your veterinarian is crucial for all medical situations. Still, it’s crucial when your dog is taking prednisone in order to protect their health and well-being.

Prednisone Alternatives For Dogs

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil helps soothe your dog’s irritations. Due to its natural antimicrobial properties, coconut oil may lessen a minor illness brought on by allergies. In addition, the antioxidants included in the coconut oil help moisturize your dog’s skin.

Antioxidants included in the coconut oil help moisturize your dog’s skin. In addition, using coconut oil will offer comfort because the itching and irritation can be caused by the skin being overly dry—medium-chain fatty acids, which are also present in coconut oil, aid in reducing arthritic symptoms.

Fish oil

This dietary supplement can aid in lessening irritation and inflammation. The best fish oil to consume is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are also present in cold-water fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the wellness of your dog.


Licorice possesses qualities that mimic those of steroids. However, it is not as powerful and has fewer negative side effects. In healthy dogs, swollen, itchy skin and digestive issues are usually treated with medicinal licorice root. While the extra substances in the candy licorice are not harmful to your dog’s health, it is not advisable to use it for long. 

CBD oil for dogs

Dogs who have arthritis may benefit from CBD oil, according to several studies and clinical trials. Although the experiments were small, the dogs benefited from CBD oil. For example, in a 2018 clinical research, CBD was administered twice daily to dogs with osteoarthritis, and the canines’ comfort and activity levels increased.

Your dog may benefit from using CBD oil to manage their skin issues and combat joint discomfort, stiffness, and swelling. They will feel better and live more easily.


Since ancient times, this spice has been used to treat pain, skin allergies, cancer, and arthritis by reducing inflammation. Turmeric can be bought as a pill, a liquid, or a powder.

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