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Dr. Christian K.
Dr. Christian K., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10146
Experience:  12 years of veterinary experience in canine surgery, medicine and behavior
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How long can one give prednisone to a dog? It says here one

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How long can one give prednisone to a dog? It says here one can give it to a dog for a "short period of time". What is a short period of time?

Dr. Christian K. :

Hello. This is Dr. Christian.

Dr. Christian K. :

Prednisone can have many side effects but with long term use the main problems that can occur are diabetes, liver damage, kidney damage and infections (because the immune system is suppressed). A month or two of medication will usually not cause any problems but more than that and those risks increase. In a dog that is pre diabetic or has underlying liver disease already then it prednisone can worsen those situations and have negative side effects much earlier. However, based on what you've described, for Lucy, it sounds like your vet is suggesting prednisone because her quality of life is poor and prednisone may help her feel better. In those cases the long term side effects may not be as worrisome because the short terms benefits can be significant.

Dr. Christian K. :

If you have more questions please reply back.

I've switched away from the chat function because it seems to be very buggy today. I hope that answer helps but please reply back with any more questions or if you need clarification.


Dr. Christian

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Christian. I am sorry I was dissatisfied before when you were disconnected. I am grateful for your reply and input. Here is more info and another question: A few months ago it did appear that Lucy's liver suffered because of having two medications at once. She recuperated and it appears that her liver is fine now. Does that qualify as "underlying liver disease"?


It could possibly but usually the liver values will be high when there is an underlying liver problem. For instance, before starting prednisone I routinely will do some blood work and if its normal then I feel much more confident about starting the prednisone. Then I will periodically do more testing after the prednisone is started (usually a month after starting it and then every 6 months). If the liver values start to go up and are worrisome then I have time to discontinue the prednisone before symptoms of a liver problem show up. The liver values will generally go up long before there are symptoms or problems with the liver. I hope that makes sense but if not please reply back.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi again, Christian. Sorry for the delay. I am still getting used to using this system. We live two hours away from a lab where blood work can be done... so we are going on how she is looking/behaving. The blood can be taken here and sent out, but there is a delay. It is also traumatic for her to have blood taken and we are trying to avoid that trauma while maintaining her quality of life. Can we give prednisone to her and stop if it seems to have a negative effect? Or would that not be reversible?

You can try giving it without doing the blood work and I've done that plenty of times. Especially in situations like this where my main goal is to improve a dog's quality of life. Let's face it, based on what you've described it doesn't sound like she can go much longer with how she is doing now and prednisone may really help her. if there are problems then the she can be weaned off the prednisone. It should never be stopped completely without weaning.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is helpful. How would we wean her off of it if there are problems?

Usually by decreasing the dose by 1/2 increments over the course of 5-6 days each time but it would be best to talk to your vet about how to do that since it can be influenced by how she is doing and her symptoms.
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