Dog Allergy Treatment with Prednisone

Dog allergy treatment options are varied and depend on the source of allergies. Prednisone is an effective corticosteroid that may be used as a short term option for canine allergies.

What Is Prednisone

Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid that has anti-inflammatory properties.

Prednisone may be used in multiple health conditions, including allergies. The medication is also effective in anaphylactic shocks, leukemia, anemia, endocrine disorders, asthma, respiratory diseases, hives or even arthritis.

Prednisolone and hydrocortisone may be equivalents to prednisone, having about the same effects as prednisone.

Prednisone for Allergies

Prednisone may be prescribed for inhalant, food and contact allergies. The medication will diminish the symptoms that are specific to these types of allergies: dermatitis, itchiness even inflammation. The drugs will suppress the immune system and the response to the allergens; however, prednisone will not treat the allergies.

Prednisone may be combined with antihistamines for a successful management of allergy symptoms.

Prednisone Side Effects

Prednisone may have side effects in dogs so, it is recommended only as short term medication. The side effects include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Water retention
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Dull coat and dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Behavioral changes
  • Irritability
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Suppressed immunity, slower immune response to infections

However, dogs are less likely to develop side effects, especially if the treatment is for a short period of time.

Prednisone is not recommended for dogs with gastric ulcers or suffering from systemic fungal infections. Also, puppies and pregnant or lactating dogs shouldn't get prednisone, as it is an immunity suppressor agent.

It is important not to discontinue the administration of the medication abruptly. If the vet determines that prednisone should be discontinued, he will prescribe a dose of prednisone every two days and gradually decrease the dosage, until it is safe to stop the medication.

Alternative Allergy Treatment Options

Due to the numerous side effects that may be caused by a lengthy administration of prednisone, vets recommend prednisone only for short periods.

The allergen must be identified and possibly eliminated from the dog's environment.

Antihistamines may be effective to reduce the symptoms of the dog allergies.

Allergy shots are effective to build up the dog's immunity to different allergens provided the allergen is detected.

The vet may do some blood work and skin testing to pinpoint the allergen and the shots will be prepared using the allergens your dog has negative responses to. The allergy shots must be administrated once per month and in time, the dog will be less sensitive to the allergens. The dog should get corticosteroids or antihistamines until the injections become effective (3 to 6 months, depending on the severity of the allergies).

You may also use topical ointments to relieve itchiness and eliminate the rashes that may accompany the allergies.

The vet may also prescribe a change in diet, especially if the dog is allergic to food. Supplements of fatty acids are beneficial in strengthening the immune system of the dog and reducing his allergic reactions.