Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid used for many conditions in both human and veterinary medicine. Its anti-inflammatory activity is approximately four times that of hydrocortisone. Corticosteroids are extremely effective anti-inflammatory drugs because they affect the inflammatory process at so many different levels. Corticosteroids have strong beneficial effects but a definite potential to cause negative side effects if abused. Prednisone may be given by injection, orally or topically.
Prednisone is used for a wide variety of conditions in both dogs and cats. It may be used in emergency situations including, anaphylactic reactions, spinal cord trauma, and many forms of shock. It is used in the management and treatment of immune mediated disease such as immune mediated hemolytic anemia, or thombocytopenia; many CNS disorders; some neoplasia; dermatologic diseases; allergic reactions such as asthma, hives, and itching; inflammatory orthopedic diseases; endocrine disorders including Addison’s; respiratory disease with an inflammatory component, inflammatory bowel diseases, and many other conditions.
Cats may require higher doses than dogs in order to achieve clinical response, but they are less likely to develop adverse side effects.
Systemic side effects to corticosteroids are generally 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 immuno-suppressive doses.
Side effects from long term use seen in dogs may include frequent and increased urination, increased water consumption, increased appetite, GI disturbance, weight gain, GI ulceration, pancreatitis, lipidemia, elevated liver enzymes, diabetes mellitus, muscle wasting, and possible behavioural changes.
Frequent and increased urination, increased water consumption, increased appetite may be seen in dogs even on short-term therapy.
Although cats are less likely to develop side effects than dogs, occasionally frequent and increased urination, increased water consumption, increased appetite, weight gain, GI disturbances, and behavioural changes occur.
Corticosteroids can cause or worsen gastric ulcers.
Prednisone is a steroid and needs to be tapered off slowly as directed by your veterinarian.
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