Prednisone (Prednisolone) for Dogs

Both prednisone and Prednisolone are corticosteroids that help in the control and management of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions in dogs. For instance the immunosuppressive attributes of Prednisolone help in treating canine autoimmune conditions such as AIHA (autoimmune hemolytic anemia) and Lupus. Additionally, the corticosteroid’s capacity to mimic the function of cortisol makes the drug ideal for dealing with hypoadrenocorticism or Addison’s disease.     

Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties of Prednisolone come in perfectly handy for the treatment of a wide range of inflammatory conditions. Some of the inflammatory conditions that prednisone helps treat include skin disorders such as pruritis (itching), allergies, muscle strains, inflammatory bowel disease, and so on. Vets sometimes prescribe Prednisolone for coping with specific cancer types such as lymphoma and also for brain and spinal cord conditions. 

Prednisone vis-à-vis Prednisolone

Prednisone, a corticosteroid is transformed by the dog’s liver into its metabolized variant Prednisolone to make the medication biologically effective. Despite being pharmaceutically comparable to Prednisolone, Prednisone remains chemically inactive until its conversion to the former. So don’t be surprised if your vet prescribes prednisone (instead of Prednisolone); veterinary prednisone is available as Prednisolone.

Prednisone at a Glance

Brand Name

Sterisol, Prednis-tab, Meticorten

Generic Name

Prednisolone, Prednisolone acetate

Drug Type


Is the drug approved by FDA?



For dogs and cats



Available forms

Injection, tablet, ophthalmic suspension (eye drops) and oral suspension


How Does Prednisolone Work in Dogs?

Prednisolone, as well as prednisone these medications, belong to a drug class known as corticosteroids. The mechanism of action of synthetic corticosteroids involves inhibiting and alleviating the body’s inflammatory reaction to specific agents. The adrenal gland in mammals including dogs produces a corticosteroid called ‘cortisol’-a stress-relieving hormone that helps prevent inflammation and regulate blood pressure.

The synthetic corticosteroid prednisone can impersonate cortical produced naturally by mammalians and is four times more effective than the latter. So it does not bear emphasis that this corticosteroid can ward off inflammatory ailments much better than cortisol. Vets prescribe Prednisolone when the dog’s body is unable to produce the hormone in sufficient quantity for fighting inflammatory agents.

Appropriate Dosage of Prednisone/Prednisolone for Dogs

There’s no one-size-fits-all dosage; the amount to be administered by and large depends upon the disorder and severity of symptoms. The usual dosage of Prednisolone or prednisone varies from 0.1mg-0.3mg/lb (0.2-0.6mg/kg) to be given twice every 24 hours. However if your dog is suffering from an autoimmune condition like Lupus, then the vet might instruct you to offer 1-3 mg/lb (2-6mg/kg) thrice daily.

The number of days that you’ll need to administer prednisone will for the most part depend upon the disorder being dealt with. On the other hand, the occurrence of side effects and how your dog responds to the corticosteroid also influence the duration. Ensure to complete the entire course of the medication until directed otherwise by your vet.

You should continue offering Prednisolone even if your dog is showing signs of recovery. If you stop administering the drug midway, there could be a relapse compelling you to start therapy all over again.

Short-term and Long-Term Side Effects of Prednisone in Dogs

Some possible side-effects comprise:-

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Gasping
  • Increased urination, thirst, and hunger

Some side effects though rare could be serious enough to warrant immediate medical intervention such as:-

  • Hypertension
  • Gaining weight abruptly
  • Hypersensitivity to drugs manifested by hives, inflammation of the face, tongue or lips

If you continue offering the medication for an extended period, you could see the dog going bald. Other long-term effects include lethargy, aggressiveness, peptic ulcer, loss of muscle mass and liver or kidney disease. The immunosuppressive properties of the corticosteroid make you vulnerable to infections.

Prednisolone Contraindications

 While discussing with your vet the pros and cons of offering prednisone, make sure you talk about your pet’s medical history. Also, let him or her know about any medications your dog is currently taking for a health condition. Your vet may not prescribe Prednisolone if your pet is taking Novocox, Metacam, Rimadyl or NSAIDs.

Do not offer the medication if your dog is pregnant or nursing or is suffering from diabetes.

Disclaimer: The above content is based on multiple research articles referred to online. Global Dog Breeds intends to share information, but it's strictly advised to consult a veterinarian and seek advice before using any medications described. We believe each condition and dog is unique, and only after careful evaluation from a qualified professional should you be offering any medications to your pet.

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