So Fido has an allergy or a skin condition or maybe even some tendonitis or some other bothersome ailment. Your vet may prescribe Prednisone – a corticosteroid drug. In moderate, controlled amounts Prednisone is an effective medicine and can help. However, if used for a prolonged period of time Prednisone can be deadly to your dog. Why? Long term use of Prednisone can cause an immunosuppression level which can lead to grave side effects including:
* Gastrointestinal ulcers.
* Inflammation in the pancreas
* Muscle degeneration
* Weight gain.
* Diabetes – Type III (which can lead to blindness)
* Behavioral changes
* Skin and hair coat problems
If these side effects are not dealt with swiftly your dog can die. So, what is an owner to do?
First, anytime your dog is put on any medication discuss side effects and duration with your vet. A good vet will not only provide you with documentation about the medicine and possible side effects like Diabetes, they will call you over the course of the medication administration to see how your dog is doing and if necessary, conduct blood tests to check their levels.
Second, examine your dog yourself. Do this frequently. Is your dog drinking more often? Having accidents? Has a skin or coat change? Having strange muscle problems? All these are signs that your dog is in trouble and needs to be seen by your vet.
Third, don’t put off necessary tests because of finances. Negotiate with your vet. If you are following up on the initial exam ask your vet if they will do the recheck without the charge of an office visit and just charge you for the tests.
Fourth, shop around for medications. Use the internet, check pharmacies, do whatever you can to get the best financial deal on the medication. If your dog ends up having to go on insulin you don’t have to get it from the vet. You can get it at a pharmacy and some insulin is available as over-the-counter.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask your vet if there is something other than a steroid they can use to treat your pet.
This is a personal article for me because I didn’t know the side effects of Prednisone and almost lost my dog to Diabetes. My vet didn’t tell me the side effects. I am happy to say we have got her diabetes under control now but she is blind.
Your dog depends on you to take care of them. Be their best friend and watch out for them. They give us so much in return.