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Prednisone (Prednisolone) for Dogs

By | Last Updated: 22nd February 2023

What are prednisone and prednisolone

Prednisone is a corticosteroid drug, with its metabolized form being available as prednisolone. The former itself does not have any significant biological effects until it is converted to prednisolone by the liver. So, when prednisolone is administered directly, it can start working without having to be converted.

What is prednisone used for in dogs

Both prednisone and prednisolone are used to treat a number of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, in dogs. They may also be used to treat certain kinds of cancer (e.g. lymphoma [7]), bronchial and lung-related ailments, skin conditions like allergies and itching, spinal cord and brain diseases, intestinal issues as well as blood-related problems [3].

Quick Information

Prednisone for Dogs

Generic Name: Prednisone, Prednisolone, Prednisolone acetate

Brand Name: Prednis-Tab, Delta-Cortef, Solu-Delta-Cortef, Sterisol, Meticorten [3]

Type: Corticosteroid [6]

Who can take it: Dogs, cats [6]

FDA Approved: Yes [1]

Availability: Through prescription [6]

Available forms: Oral liquid (syrup), Tablets, Ophthalmic suspension (eye drops), Injections [6]

Cost: $0.31 per 1 mg tablet

What does prednisone do for dogs

Prednisone, being a corticosteroid, inhibits the inflammatory response of the body to certain agents. The corticosteroid produced naturally within the adrenal gland is called cortisol; Prednisone, in its metabolized prednisolone form, is four times stronger as an anti-inflammation agent than the cortisol produced by the body [2], thus being more effective in fighting off inflammatory diseases.

Prednisone/prednisolone dosage for dogs

The dosage varies widely depending on the condition it is used to treat. Follow the vet’s prescription to the letter. Dosing is usually based on the age and weight of the dog.

How long can a dog stay on prednisone

The duration of treatment is dependant on the condition. Make sure to complete the course as prescribed instead of stopping the medication abruptly as soon as there are visible signs of improvement.

Side effects of prednisone/prednisolone in dogs

Some of the serious side effects that require immediate medical attention are [5, 2]:

  • Allergic reactions including swelling of the lips, face, or tongue, breathing difficulty, hives
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sudden weight gain

Common side effects include:

  • Increased thirst, appetite, and urination
  • Panting
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Apart from the above, a study showed that usage of prednisone on dogs that have just had pancreatectomy and pancreatic islet autotransplantation can increase their blood sugar levels. In clinically healthy dogs, however, another study showed no alteration in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.

Long-Term effects of prednisone/prednisolone

Long-term administration may lead to loss of hair coat, liver damage, weakened muscles, stomach ulcers, and changes in behavior in that they can become lethargic or aggressive. Since prednisolone suppresses the immune system, dogs may be more susceptible to infections [3].

Tapering a dog off prednisone

As the adrenal glands need to adjust slowly to getting back to their normal function of producing corticosteroids, it is best to slowly wean the dog off the medication. There may be various adverse health effects of stopping prednisone suddenly. One of the most dangerous of these effects is the dog going into shock out of a condition known as Addisonian crises because of the lack of sufficient cortisol in the body.


If the side-effects persist even after they have been addressed by the vet, it is possible that your dog may have overdosed on prednisolone. If you suspect an overdose, immediately contact your vet or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Helpline (1-888-426-4435).

Contraindications: When not to give

Make sure to tell the vet about all the medications that your dog is having. Prednisolone is usually not taken in conjunction with NSAIDs like Deramaxx, Rimadyl, Metacam, and Novocox. Other medications which prednisolone may react with are digoxin, diuretics, insulin, phenobarbital, ketoconazole, and mitotane. Extreme caution must be practiced when treating diabetic or pregnant dogs with prednisolone [6].


    1. Get the Facts about Pain Relievers for Pets – FDA.gov
    2. Prednisolone And Prednisone for Dogs and Cats – WedgeWoodPetRX.com
    3. Prednisone / Prednisolone for Dogs and Cats – PetPlace.com
    4. Prednisolone 5 mg Tablets (Canada) – Drugs.com
    5. Prednisolone – 1800PetMeds.com
    6. Prednisone and Prednisolone for Dogs and Cats – PetMD.com
    7. Lymphoma in Dogs – http://www.WVRC.com

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