Canine Pemphigus Treatment with Prednisone

Canine pemphigus represents an autoimmune disease that affects the skin and the mucous membranes of the dogs. Most often, the eruptions that characterize this health condition are seen on the ears, face and oral cavity. Oral corticosteroids such as Prednisone and Prednisolone are among the most efficient treatment options for canine pemphigus.

Types of Canine Pemphigus

There are several types of skin disorders that bear this name, Pemphigus foliaceus being the most common. The others are known as:

  • Pemphigus erythemtosus
  • Pemphigus vetetans
  • Pemphigus vulgaris

The latter is known to cause the most severe symptoms. Pemphigus vetetans, on the other hand, is the least serious variation of this health condition.

The breeds that are affected most often include:

  • Akita
  • Bearded Collie
  • Chow Chow
  • Dachsund
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Finnish Spritz
  • Newfoundland dogs
  • Schipperke

Fortunately, Prednisone can be successfully used for all the variations of this disease. For an even more efficient treatment, Prednisone can be combined with immunosuppressant medication such as azathioprine.  


Prednisone Dosage

When the symptoms of canine pemphigus have been completely treated, the dosage needs to be decreased progressively. If the treatment is stopped suddenly, an adrenal crisis occurs and the effects may be fatal.

The dosage of prednisone depends on the type of medical disorder for which it is used, but it always depends on the weight of the dog. For inflammatory diseases, the dosage ranges between 0.1 and 0.3 mg for each pound of body weight. However, for canine pemphigus and other such autoimmune diseases, the recommended dosage varies between 1 mg and 3 mg per pound. Your dog will be administered this dose 3 times throughout the day.

In order to avoid adverse reactions and complications, it is highly recommended to administer the smallest dosage that relieves the symptoms. This way, veterinarians and dog owners are able to prevent the side effects of prednisone, which are not only numerous, but also very severe.

Prednisone Contraindications and Interactions

There are certain situations when this corticosteroid is strictly contraindicated. More precisely, Prednisone should not be administered to dogs that suffer from:

  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Stomach ulcer

Also, pregnant dogs should not be given this type of medication. Besides that, Prednisone can interact with several types of drugs, so under no circumstances should be administered at the same time. Such drugs include antihistamines and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.

Side Effects of Prednisone

Adverse reactions are frequently observed if the dosage is not respected with strictness. However, there are certain cases when the dogs present sensitivity to this type of medication. The side effects that occur most often include:

  • Canine Cushing’s disease
  • Canine diabetes
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Increased appetite
  • Joint inflammation
  • Loss of hair coat
  • Muscle wasting
  • Thinning of the skin

As some of the side effects mentioned above are very serious, dog owners are highly recommended to respect the dosage and to report any adverse reactions as soon as they are noticed.

Keep in mind that adverse reactions can be observed even if the dog is not sensitive to the drug and the dosage has been respected. Prolonged use of this corticosteroid can also lead to such side effects. Also, if administered for long periods of time, it leads to dependency, and as a direct consequence, its effectiveness drops in time.