TRIPAWDS: Home to 10773 Members and 1074 Blogs.


Prednisone and Dog Cancer Tips

Prednisone is the topic of many conversations here at Tripawds, since lots of our members with cancer, like Ajax, are including it in their cancer regimen.

Ajax in the Atlantic 10 Months Post AmputationBecause, prednisone is a serious drug that can have mild to serious side effects, let’s take a minute to discuss how you can make the most of this therapy without putting your Tripawd at risk.

What is Prednisone?

This steroid drug, usually prescribed in pill form, is used to reduce inflammation, redness and swelling in the body caused by auto-immune disorders, cancers and other diseases affecting the immune system. Prednisone is not a chemotherapy drug, but is used in conjunction with chemotherapy protocols to treat dog cancers such as mast cell cancer, lymphosarcoma and lymphoma. The dosage will vary depending on the disease being treated.

Prednisone works fast by decreasing the immune system’s response to inflammation and pain. It affects nearly every system in the body and should be used with extreme care, only when necessary and rarely for long-term use.


When to Take Prednisone

Recently Dr. Demian Dressler, author of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, stated in this blog post that veterinary overuse of prednisone has given this class of cortisone drugs a bad rap. Many diseases can be better managed with less serious drugs, but some vets are too quick to reach for this fast-fix. Consequently, a significant number of dogs experience prednisone’s serious side effects when they really don’t need to.

While prednisone can cause serious side effects such as poor wound healing, thinning fur and skin and even diabetes or Cushing’s Disease, prednisone does provide many benefits, such as managing cancer’s side effects in dogs. However, prednisone should always be used with caution and only under direct veterinary supervision.

To reduce your dog’s risk of experiencing the downside of prednisone, always get a firm diagnosis of the condition you are trying to treat and ask your vet to give you a definite time-frame for starting and stopping treatment. You’ll also want to use the least potent form possible to alleviate symptoms.

What to Expect

Many dogs will experience insatiable thirst and frequent urination while taking prednisone. Since your dog will want to drink more water than usual, and in turn, urinate more often, give your dog the prednisone in the morning. Allow as much water as your dog wants, but adjust your schedule so that your dog can eliminate outside. To avoid nighttime indoor accidents, don’t hesitate to remove water a few hours before bedtime.

Your dog may be hungrier than usual. Keep your dog’s weight in check by only feeding healthy, low-cal treats such as green beans and celery inbetween meal times. Baby-proof your house; your dog may eat weird things that he normally wouldn’t.

A rarer but more serious side effect can include stomach ulcers and personality changes. Do not give your dog predinisone if she is also on an anti-inflammatory medication such as Rimadyl or aspirin. Watch for black tarry stools or vomiting, which can be signs of stomach ulceration. If you notice a severe personality change in your dog, call your vet.

The sooner your dog can complete treatment with prednisone the better, but never, ever change or stop the prednisone dose without consulting your vet first. Doing so may put your dog’s immune system into shock. For dogs battling cancer, your vet may want to keep your dog on a long-term, low dose regimen which usually requires regular monitoring.

Jerry’s Prednisone Story: Share Yours Too

Jerry poses at Gros Ventre CampgroundBack when I was being treated for later stages of my osteosarcoma lung metastasis, my oncologist prescribed prednisone and albuterol, a  bronchodilator, to help alleviate lung inflammation. I was coughing so much that my lungs hurt, and the predinsone was supposed to help make me feel better. Well, it did and it didn’t. It made me hungry again and I also stopped coughing so much, but at the same time my pawsonality changed so much that I just didn’t feel like the same dog. I didn’t continue on this therapy once my pawrents and I decided that we wanted to live out the last bit of my time on earth without experiencing side effects from drugs.

If you have experience using prednisone as part of your dog’s cancer regimen, please share it in the comments section below or in this Discussion Forums post. Thanks for sharing your story so that it may help others.

Recommended Reading

Dr. Demian Dressler: Prednisone for Dog Cancer
Veterinary Prednisone / Prednisolone

The Bichon Frise Club of America: Prednisone, the Good and the Bad

Tripawds News Blog: Stop the Presses, I’m Feeling Good Today!

Tripawds News Blog: Saying Goodbye: How We Knew (Part 1)

Scroll down for 100+ comments with feedback from readers!

NOTE: Please remember to buy from a Vet-Vipps Accredited Pharmacy when buying online!

111 Responses to “Prednisone and Dog Cancer Tips”

  1. My girl has been on prednisone for nine years for allergies, she just had mast cell cancer removed, they couldn’t get it all. Been nine months and she is doing well. No treatment, still on prednisone. I take her to cancer center every three months for sonogram, hope this helps. God bless all who are going thru so much heartache

  2. Hi Lisa,my heart goes out to you.I just lost my Biggirl march 29th 2016. I cry everyday wishing she were here & asking God why.It just breaks my heart.She has RA which is Arthirist a crippling disease where she couldn’t walk.She had that from November 13th,2013 then she got sick again.I took her to the Vet & she had pinworms & I didn’t even know it.
    He gave her 2 worm pill then 2 days later.She died. i Cried & I cried & still haven’t gotten over her.I just want you to know my heart breaks for you.I know you love your dog.Try some of these dog organizations on the internet.I seen some & they help people who’s dogs have cancer. It’s worth a try.Sorry about all your bad luck.God Bless You & your dog.

  3. My baby, my heart, the only thing I left, my wolf Grimmy. He has been with us for over 11 yrs n about a month ago we noticed him being really sleepy, he couldn’t keep his eyes open n he was breathing a lot harder, he just wasn’t his happy playful self. So we rushed him to the vet the very next day n they diagnosed him with lymphoma. That crushed me n broke my heart, a day doesn’t go by without tears n my heart breaking. I had noticed the lumps in his throat months ago when we took him to the vet for his continuous ear n skin problems, he was seen by 3 different vets n they all said it might b his thyroid, but he was fine n when we could afford the blood work than they’d put him on something, but not to worry. I can’t believe he had it that long n I made sure to bring it to their attention every time n still nothing, I am so upset. He is finally starting chemo on Monday n will have to b on prednisone again, he was on it for his skin problem n he didn’t do so well. He was 20 lbs over weight n had lost 13 but on the medication he gained 8 lbs back in two weeks. He just wouldn’t stop eating, back into the trash cans, everything n no one told us about the side affects until I called n asked. He has been losing weight again but now he starts the medication this week, cause the lumps in his throat r starting to interfere with his breathing n swallowing n the vet said a couple of days early won’t interfere with the chemo. What can I do to help him thru this hard time, with the over eating, the chemo, everything he will b going thru. What can I feed him, what kind of snacks, what should he b taking while on the chemo, vitamins, supplements? Also, does anyone know of any help we can get to help pay for his chemo? I still don’t know how we r going to afford this n he has already lost a month of treatment. I’ve tired most of the sites on the internet but no one is taking any application, none! My car broke down n now I have to find one cause I can’t find work or get my baby to the vet cause he can no longer jumo into my boyfriends big truck, he also tore his CCL 3yrs ago n had surgery to replace that, my poor baby, I was going to use that money for the chemo treatments n I lost my job n can’t find one without a car cause of where we live. I’m just so unsure about everything, I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing for him, I luv him so much n he has given us so much, I just want him to feel better again n b happy. This is just tearing me apart n I don’t seem to have anywhere to turn. What if we can’t afford the treatment? Then what? I just can’t watch him die n do nothing. Please any help would b totally appreciated. Thnx u for everyone’s time.

    • Lisa I’m really, really sorry to hear about your pup and your situation. You are doing all you can for him. Remember, he doesn’t want you to be stressed over vet bills and paying for them, he just wants you to be happy and that’s the best medicine there is. If you aren’t confident with your current vet, then find one you can trust. If they are not oncologists you may want to find one can better manage his illness. Kudos to you for helping him lose the weight. It’s hard when you’re giving them Pred, your vet should have told you about the side effects. Again, seek help from an oncologist and remember, a great quality of life is worth its weight in gold. Sending lots of hugs to you both.

  4. Deana Matthews April 18, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Our Beagle has lymphoma. She is on prilosec and prednisone and some Chinese herbs. She doesn’t have much time left. The prednisone causes some side effects like heavy panting, and I reduced the dose from 20 mg to 10 today to see how she seems to feel. She is not panting. I am waiting for the dr to confirm that 10 mg is okay because you cant just stop prednisone you have to taper. If the dr insists on 20 mg, I will give her 10 mg later on today.

  5. The vets recently checked our dog over as we found a lump that had developed quite quickly, they said just by feeling it that it was cancer & that he wouldn’t have long left. We brought him back to pts at home with any show of decline & they did not give him any medication but over 2 weeks on he is still the same dog (thankfully) running, barking, toileting / eating/ drinking normally. We are enjoying every moment but I wonder should he be taking anything in the meantime?

    • Dani, please please please go see another veterinarian who is more forward-thinking and willing to aspirate the lump. We are not vets but it’s our understanding after talking with cancer experts that a lump cannot be diagnosed just by feeling or looking at it. See Dr. Sue Ettinger’s project, “See Something Do Something.” Hopefully the lump is nothing and your dog will continue enjoying many happy times with you.

Leave a Reply

Tripawds Blogs is brought to you by Tripawds.