Most vets will only prescribe prednisone for dogs for a limited period of time. When the medication is administered on a short term basis, the risks of experiencing side effects is much lower. However, the longer that the dog is given prednisone, the greater the chance of developing associated problems.
This, of course, leads to a very important question – for how long can a dog safely take prednisone? In most instances, vets will prescribe the medication for a period of one to four weeks. This doesn’t include the time taken to wean the canines off of the drug.
A long-term prescription of prednisone is one that would last longer than three or four months at a time. In rare instances, the period of treatment will extend beyond this as well. In the end, it is the following factors that will determine how long a dog can continue to take prednisone:
Only a vet can decide to prescribe prednisone for dogs for a longer period of time. He or she will need to weigh the advantages against the repercussions and determine if the risk is acceptable. If the vet does decide to go ahead with the treatment, they will issue you with very specific instructions regarding dosing.
The Medical Condition
If your dog is diagnosed with a serious or a debilitating disease, then a long-term prednisone treatment may be unavoidable. If the benefits of taking prednisone far outweigh the risk of side effects, then a vet may prescribe this medication for a longer period of time. This includes medical conditions such as cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Your Dog’s Health
One of the biggest concerns with taking prednisone for longer is the fact that it can have a negative impact on your dog’s immune system. After a while, it can also begin to take a toll on the dog’s liver as well. Now, with a dog that is otherwise in good health, such issues may take longer to appear. Thus, the vet may be more comfortable with prescribing the medication for longer.
However, if your dog already has a compromised immune system or has been diagnosed with liver or kidney problems, then the treatment length will be much shorter. So, to a great extent, your dog’s health will be a major factor in such a decision.
Availability of Other Treatments
Some dogs are diagnosed with lifelong diseases. As such, they will need extended periods of prednisone treatment. If this is the case for your dog, your vet will likely re-evaluate his or her diagnosis. Therefore, your dog may be prescribed a safer, alternative treatment. However, if one is not available, then your vet may advice you to administer the medication for longer.
As you can see, this is not an easy or straightforward query to tackle. This is why, to get the best possible answer, it is important to always take the advice of a vet. He or she will be in the ideal position to review your dog’s health, diagnosis, and more before providing you with the right answer for the situation.