How to Taper Off Prednisone Dog Dosage

The prednisone dog dosage should be tapered off with great care, because a sudden discontinuation of this drug can have major side effects. Prednisone is a corticosteroid that may be used to reduce swelling and pain and will also inhibit the function of the immune system. The drug is used in numerous health issues in canines and when it is discontinued, the process should be slow and gradual, and may take a few weeks.

Conditions that Require Prednisone

Prednisone is a steroid (corticosteroid), which can help in the treatment and management of many health conditions including:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Adrenal gland deficiencies
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, the cortisone being an efficient immune system suppressor
  • Arthritis or rheumatism

Prednisone may have numerous benefits, such as reducing pain, swelling and allergic reactions, but there are also major side effects that can accompany a prednisone treatment. The abrupt discontinuation of a prednisone dog prescription can be very dangerous.

How to Taper Off Prednisone Dosage

When the vet establishes that the dog no longer needs prednisone treatment, the dose cannot be simply discontinued starting from the following day, because the dog can get severely ill. The prednisone should be gradually tapered off. The vet may decide to taper off prednisone by halving the daily dose or administering a normal dose every second day to the dog. After one week, the dog can get less prednisone, or get the initial dose of prednisone once every three days.

After another week, the dog may get a small dose every day or the initial dose once per week. The tapering off of prednisone treatment typically takes between two and five weeks, depending on the initial dose of the drug, the disease the dog is being treated for and the reaction of the dog when the dose is lowered. You should always follow the recommendations of the vet and never forget to administer a dose of prednisone to your pet. You should never administer prednisone to your pet when it is not recommended.

Reasons for Gradual Discontinuation of Prednisone

The discontinuation of prednisone dog treatments should be gradual and performed over several weeks, because if this procedure is not respected, the dog may be affected by hyperadrenocorticism (commonly known as Cushing's disease) or even adrenal gland insufficiency. This is due to the fact that the cortisone will stimulate the adrenal gland and if the treatment is suddenly discontinued, the adrenal glands may either fail to produce the needed amounts of hormones or produce these hormones in excess. The adrenal glands have to get accustomed to not getting prednisone, by slowly reducing the amounts of prednisone the dog gets.

During the discontinuation process, the dog will have to be monitored. The activity of the adrenal glands is important and if there are any abnormalities, the dose of prednisone may need to be increased, until the dog no longer displays symptoms of impaired adrenal gland activity.