Pet parents always want what’s best for their charismatic canines – whether they’re suffering from a seasonal allergy or diagnosed with a chronic condition, you do whatever it takes to ensure your dog is living well. At times, your pooch may be feeling under the weather, and giving him an over-the-counter medication intended for humans might seem like a perfectly safe option.
However, administering any treatment without consulting a licensed vet first can actually do more harm than good. Whether it’s an OTC remedy or a prescription drug, leave it to the professionals to determine the safest ways to care for your pet. This article will discuss Prednisolone and Prednisone and how they may affect your dog in the event they’re prescribed by your vet.
What Is Prednisone for Dogs?
Prednisone is a corticosteroid prescription drug used to manage inflammation associated with allergic reactions, immune-mediated diseases, endocrine disorders, IBD, orthopedic diseases, and more.
These medications are used to manage inflammation or diseases where the immune system plays a primary role. Normally, the body manufactures cortisol, a natural corticosteroid produced in the adrenal gland. Corticosteroids are essential for life – they not only affect metabolism, but the function of all cells and organ systems. Because they perform various actions at a cellular level, their anti-inflammatory properties are vast and affect the entire body.
Prednisolone and prednisone deliver anti-inflammatory effects that are approximately four times stronger than the body’s biologically-occurring cortisol. By mimicking the effects of cortisol, they are capable of a wide range of effects, including inflammation reduction, immune system suppression, appetite stimulation, inhibiting healing, altering mood, increasing the secretion of gastric acid, weakening muscles, and thinning of the skin, among others. Vets have often used forms of Prednisolone and Prednisone to treat animals for similar conditions as experienced by humans, including dogs and cats.
There are many different types of corticosteroid drugs available to treat a variety of medical conditions, such as reducing inflammation, suppressing the immune system, treating certain types of cancer, and as a replacement when the body is not producing enough of its own corticosteroids.
However, inappropriate or chronic usage of corticosteroids can result in life-threatening metabolic and hormonal changes. Studies have shown that drugs such as Prednisone and Prednisolone are most effective when used over a short period time at a very low dosage to lessen the chance of adverse effects.
Prednisolone and Prednisone are not FDA-approved for use in animals, nor are they available from a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer. However, they are considered as acceptable treatments, as both drugs are frequently used within the veterinary practice. Similar to humans, research has shown that pets should not be dependent on either drug for an extended period of time, and should be weaned off the medication as soon as their condition allows.
When dogs are required to be on Prednisone for a length of time, administering the medication every other day (or even less frequently if feasible) may reduce the chances of serious side-effects; however, your vet will instruct you on the appropriate time and length of dosage and other pertinent administration instructions.
Knowing The Difference: Prednisolone Vs. Prednisone
Prednisolone and Prednisone for dogs are drugs commonly prescribed by veterinarians to treat the pain and inflammation associated with injury, illness and surgery. These synthetic corticosteroids are designed to simulate the glucocorticoid hormones produced naturally by a dog’s adrenal glands. Both medications help regulate the swelling associated with the immune system and affect water and sodium levels. However, there are distinct differences between these two strong corticosteroids.
Prednisolone is created when Prednisone is metabolized by the liver. Because of this, Prednisolone is generally considered easier to absorb than prednisone. Prednisolone is also preferred over Prednisone for dogs with pre-existing liver conditions. Depending on the size of your dog and his condition, the required dosage and form of Prednisone and Prednisolone may also differ.
How Can Prednisolone Help My Dog?
As mentioned earlier, Prednisolone and Prednisone are often used to manage and treat the following canine medical conditions, including:
- Allergic reactions (such as asthma, hives, and itching)
- Central Nervous System (CSN) disorders
- Dermatologic diseases
- Emergency situations including spinal cord trauma, anaphylactic reactions and other forms of shock
- Endocrine (hormonal) disorders including Addison’s Disease
- High blood calcium levels
- Immune mediated diseases, such as immune-mediated hemolytic anemia or thrombocytopenia
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)
- Inflammatory Orthopedic diseases
- Respiratory disease with an inflammatory component
- Some types of canine cancer
Prednisolone and Prednisone treat a broad array of diseases and disorders in dogs, and may be prescribed for your pet for many different reasons, frequently as a supplemental treatment. Below, an overview of common drug applications listed by category:
- Endocrine (Hormonal) Disorders: Both medications are most commonly prescribed to treat Addison’s Disease, a condition where a dog’s adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones naturally.
- Autoimmune Diseases: These drugs are also used to treat autoimmune diseases in dogs such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) and lupus due to their ability to suppress immune system responses.
- Allergic Reactions: Due to their immune-suppressing capabilities, both drugs have shown to be effective in treating allergic reactions, including itchiness/skin irritation, hives, and even asthma.
- Central Nervous System (CNS) Disorders: Inflammatory CNS disease are a group of diseases that affect the brain (or brain and spinal cord) in the absence of an infections cause. These inflammatory CNS diseases affect dogs worldwide; however, both drugs have been found to be useful as a form of therapy.
- Inflammatory Orthopedic Diseases: There are many different forms of inflammation that may occur within your dog’s bo