Side Effects of Prednisone
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    Pugpillow's Avatar
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    Default Side Effects of Prednisone

    I have been sorting through old computer files preparatory to transferring them to my new 'puter and came upon this. I may have posted it a while back but I couldn't find it. I think it's worth posting again.


    Prednisone – Miracle and Horror Drug
    For a while now I have been researching the pros and cons of the anti-inflammatory drug prednisone (known by various brand names), a synthetic corticosteroid which is used to control the symptoms of a number of complaints. For a period of about eight years until this spring, under the advice of a vet specialist for whom I have a great deal of respect, I had been administering it on an “as needed” basis to Kim-Soo for treatment of allergies and what had been diagnosed as atopical dermatitis. I am convinced that without prednisone, Kimmy would not be alive today.

    However, prednisone is also a potentially very harmful drug and Kimmy and I are together living with some of the long-term side effects of its use. I’d like to share some of its possible short and long-term side effects and raise some issues for you to think about when you consider using it on your dogs. The point of this post is not to scare you but to arm you with as much information as possible so you can adjust your dog’s care accordingly. If you want more specifics about any of the side effects, I’ll try and provide them. Just remember, I’m not a medical professional – just someone who has thankfully relied on this drug and has experienced its effects, both good and bad. There is lots of information on the internet and I would urge you to do as much research as possible if you are using or planning to use prednisone. I’ve marked the *known* side effects that Kimmy has experienced with a [K].

    Short-term side effects can include:
    · suppresses the immune system and allows infections (yeast, skin, etc.) to flourish [K]
    · increased appetite [K]
    · indigestion (should be taken with food)
    · salt retention
    · increase in blood glucose levels (may hasten diabetes)
    · increased nervous activity [K]
    · loss of potassium
    · headache
    · panting [K]
    · mood swings

    Long-term side effects can include:
    · Cushing’s Disease (iatrogenic hyperadrenocorticism) – potentially fatal
    · speeds up formation of cataracts [K]
    · glaucoma (may increase pressure on eye)
    · osteoporosis (may need to add calcium to diet – ask vet)
    · calcinosis cutis (subcutaneous calcium deposits) or “canine gout” [K]
    · Addison’s Disease (adrenal insufficiency ; identified by abnormal ACTH levels in bloodwork)
    · hardening of the arteries
    · rapid aging [K]
    Short-term side effects can be eliminated by discontinuation of the steroid, but with long-term side effects the damage has been done and can only be prevented from worsening. The potential for negative side effects is heightened with high dosages and long-term use.

    Although topical creams and ointments that include steroids are less powerful because they are not ingested, they are also associated with adverse effects and should be avoided over the long-term if at all possible. Be aware that the absorption rate into the body varies with where the cream is applied – e.g. more rapidly into genital area than on legs and arms.

    Things to Consider:
    · prednisone is metabolized by the liver, so not as effective if liver disease is present
    · prednisone can cause false skin test results
    · the dog probably shouldn’t have any immunizations/vaccinations while taking as it suppresses the immune system
    · get advice from vet if there are other problems present – e.g. worms, diabetes, glaucoma, bowel problems, heart disease, bladder stones or kidney disease, liver disease, dysfunctional thyroid
    · prednisone should not be used whenever there is an infection !!
    · you may need to alter the diet to compensate for inadequate potassium, calcium, etc.
    · should NEVER be used with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) such as Metacam
    · It is VERY IMPORTANT to wean your dog off prednisone rather than discontinuing it “cold turkey”. In extreme cases, immediate withdrawal has caused death.

    I hope this research helps your pup to avoid what we’ve been through for so long. The good news is that Kimmy is one strong little fighter and has survived with her spirit intact. What a brave little trooper she has been.
    "You cannot afford to subject your animals, or your children, to medical interventions that you do not understand. The belief system upon which the conventional medical model is founded is so faulty, so corrupt and so dangerous that you simply cannot afford to follow blindly." Catherine O’Driscoll http://www.whale.to/vaccine/driscoll1.html

    Hilary & the Pugpillow Gang: Rescues: Denver (10), Tina (7), Murdoch (5) and chihuahua puppy Maximus Spartacus. Always loving my angel-girl Mei-Ling (1994-2009), my cutie-patootie Kim-Soo (1995-2010), my precious Daisy-Bo (1998?-2006), my sweet boyfriend Jake (1997-2010), my little black beauty Betsy (1995-2010), my sweet old grumpy man Gooey (1996-2011), and my sweet gentleman Farnsworth (1998-2012) at the Bridge.

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    Charley was on it for 2 weeks - his appetite has never went back to normal. We were going to put Bosley on it for his PDE but decided against because his LIVER IS KICKING BUTT - and we don't want to hurt his liver. That is what is keeping him going.

    But it does the same in humans...I get enough injections and pills - that I can share with my boys.
    Yvette Banks

    Personal mommy of Killer (15), Charley (10), Buggie (5), Bosley (5), Penelope (3), Puddles (8), Owen (5-BT) & Jake (3-French Mastiff)

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    When I was a child, we had a lovely beagle mix that had terrible grass allergies. Every summer, he would be on Prednisone for 3 months or so.

    When he was 10, his back legs gave out and the vet said it was muscle deterioration due to the chronic prednisone. We had to put him down as he had no leg or bowel control.

    I always really regretted not getting him allergy tested and shots as opposed to using the Pred. but I was a child and did not know better. Now I am totally afraid of any chronic use of the drug for any of my pugs.
    Roxane
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    Forever Mama to my angel boy Bailey,my heart,my love
    2/14/95-2/14/10 and my other angel boy Tiny Tim,who taught me so much about loving a differently abled pug
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    My Ashleigh(non-pug) was on it...so well behaved, never got on furniture. I caught her on the kitchen table , she ate 6 apple pies and 2 apple crisp. I swear it made her crazy.



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    This kind of stuff could be written about ANY drug. Every single drug has its benefits and risks. It's weighing the risk-benefit ratio that's important in choosing appropriate medication.
    Viralmd, Cyril (aka Aljac Captain Hook CGC) and Tassie, the rescue chihuahua

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    Our Vet prescribed Theophyllene for Sango on a as need basis as well. Theophyllene is a broncho diallator (sp). It was commonly used as a human asthma medicine but many are allergic and it is mainly used on animals now. I'm currently not aware of the side affects but Sango has only needed it twice and it doesn't seem to have had any noticable affects. Other then helping him breath better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PugSavers View Post

    I always really regretted not getting him allergy tested and shots as opposed to using the Pred. but I was a child and did not know better. Now I am totally afraid of any chronic use of the drug for any of my pugs.
    Roxane, don't beat yourself up. You could have had the allergy tests and shots and still had to use prednisone, as we did. And then came raw feeding ...
    "You cannot afford to subject your animals, or your children, to medical interventions that you do not understand. The belief system upon which the conventional medical model is founded is so faulty, so corrupt and so dangerous that you simply cannot afford to follow blindly." Catherine O’Driscoll http://www.whale.to/vaccine/driscoll1.html

    Hilary & the Pugpillow Gang: Rescues: Denver (10), Tina (7), Murdoch (5) and chihuahua puppy Maximus Spartacus. Always loving my angel-girl Mei-Ling (1994-2009), my cutie-patootie Kim-Soo (1995-2010), my precious Daisy-Bo (1998?-2006), my sweet boyfriend Jake (1997-2010), my little black beauty Betsy (1995-2010), my sweet old grumpy man Gooey (1996-2011), and my sweet gentleman Farnsworth (1998-2012) at the Bridge.

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    Pugsly has taken pred off and on most of his life and recently has been on it for two years straight due to his chronic bronchitis. Unfortunately, he would probably already be dead if he was not taking it. It is the main thing that keeps his airways open. Most of the time I am able to just give him 2.5mg a day, but we sometimes have to raise the amount. Just recently, he has been taking Flovent and Albuterol, but it is too early to tell if we will be able to get him off the pred and just taking the inahlers.

    He has had some of the complications from the pred, but he would not be with me today if it were not for that medicine. As Virlamd said, you can look at almost any drug and see the positives while negatives occur. Pugsly needed quality of life even if it takes some time from his life. I could never life with myself if I didn't do whatever it took to make his life good even if it means I don't have him as long.
    Leslye, Chyna, Tinker, Ruffy and husband Tim &
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    Sophie is on prednisone and has been for a year. She has a chronic form of lieukemia. She has increased appetite and drinks more so therefore urinates more but I think that these side effects are well worth the gain. It's been more than a year and her blood tests have been very positive every time. Just last week she had a full panel - no liver problems or anything else and her blood cell count was spectacular. I am very glad that we are using it.
    Susan

    The proud mom of senior rescue pugs Herbie, Dave and Cookie and the playful three year old Bugsy! Missing Cobber, Sophie, Lady and Rosie who are waiting at the bridge.


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    None of my pugs have ever taken prednisone......because of my own personal experience with the stuff. It was repeatedly prescribed to me during my senior year of high school and it completely destroyed my immune system. I swear it almost killed me. It took over a year to get back to normal. Neither my dogs or myself will ever take prednisone.

    Jesse

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