Excessive panting on prednisone
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Thread: Excessive panting on prednisone

  1. #1
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    Question Excessive panting on prednisone

    I joined this forum hoping somebody could help me. I have a Springer Spaniel, male, age unknown. He was a stray/rescue, I've had him for going on 11 years, I would imagine he's definitely in his teens. He is on 10 mg of prednisone once daily. If he weren't on prednisone, he'd be crippled to the point that euthanasia would be the only humane option. Here's my problem: for a few months now, he's been panting alot. I took him to the vet, he drew blood. His kidney levels are elevated (not totally sure what this means?), but otherwise everything looks good. No heart problems. From what I've read, panting can be a side effect of prednisone. The past 2 days have been unseasonably warm for us here in Ontario, and Woody has been panting non-stop. I'm concerned what he'll be like when the weather hits 30 degrees celsius or higher, saying as today was only 20 degrees. Okay, so after this long post, here's my question - is he really hot and uncomfortable, or does he even really notice that he's panting? Maybe a stupid question, but if he is hot and uncomfortable, I can't imagine how he's going to feel when summer hits and it's super hot out. I know the time is coming to make the big decision, I just want to be informed as possible. Thanks in advance for any responses, I really appreciate it.

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    Re: Excessive panting on prednisone

    Hi. You are right it HAS been hot the last couple of days. His kidney levels being elevated indicates they are not cleaning the blood of toxins as well as normal..but this does not necessarily mean it is related to serious issues..a lot of senior animals have changes in kidney functions as a result of aging and organ changes.
    Panting IS a possible side effects of prednisone but it can also be indicative of pain or discomfort, overheating, anxiety etc. Are there any other behaviours that seem odd?
    Is he having difficulty moving (more so than usual)? Is he still eating ok? Does he still want to participate in things with you?
    You can use cool moist towels in his "hot areas"..under his armpits, on his groin area (cool, not COLD, keep in mind) to see if this eases his heat issues and keep an eye on his amount of time spent outside. Even my young dogs that I walk were "sluggish" today as the heat came on suddenly and they haven't had time to adjust. Older dogs and young puppies do not have as efficient "thermostats" as middle adult dogs.
    Thank you for taking Woody in, by the way. He will be forever grateful for the time he has with you.
    Take care.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


  4. #3
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    Re: Excessive panting on prednisone

    Hi there-
    I've had some experience with Prednisone... its an awful drug, but I understand your need. I had a 10 year old boxer on the stuff for insulinoma. I took her off because she had every side-effect in the book, she actually was miraculously better off of it with some diet changes. She lived another year and a half with the vigor of a pup
    Anyway, back to you. Elevated levels of Kidney enzymes suggest that the kidneys are experiencing damage. When an organ is distressed or damaged, cell layers of that organ slouch off and pour into the blood stream. For most organs, these slouched off cells are harmless to the rest of our bodies but to see them in the blood MAY be cause for alarm. I would be interested to know what the levels are.
    Prednisone can cause many side-effects, one of them is increased thirst. In humans, some have compared the effect to "cotton mouth". Do you allow your dog to have access to water around the clock, or do you limit? With my dog, she would have drank and drank to the point of danger if we had let her, thats how poor she was off on the Prednisone. See if your dog is thirsty, if he wants to drink and drink there is not much you can do for him except to allow him to drink small, frequent amounts and let him out to urinate often. You can also offer him ice cubes to lick, this will help him cool off and feel like he is taking in liquids.
    Because the kidneys are damaged in some way, you need to be aware of the possibility of kidney failure in the future. If at any time in the future your dog shows any signs of lethargy, or is taking in liquids without expelling all of them, you need to take your dog to an emergency clinic because he may be suffering from kidney failure. Kidney failure can happen VERY quickly and without warning, so just be aware of it and watch those fluids
    Now is also a good time to learn to take your dog's temperature if you haven't already. Its not at all difficult if you have a well-behaved dog, and can help you understand what is going on in your dog's body. A dog with a fever often will not FEEL much warmer to the touch.

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    Re: Excessive panting on prednisone

    Also, I second Cracker's comments on cooling. Try cool towels, and try offering ice cubes to lick. There are also cooling mats out on the market, if you need help finding some let me know. They are typically just large ice packs, but some are electrically powered to provide continuos cooling. They can be quite pricey though, and your dog may be just as happy with a dry or damp towel you put in the freezer for 15 minutes

  6. #5
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    Re: Excessive panting on prednisone

    I feel for you and your boy. My Golden Shiloh, was on 40 mg a day for a little over a month for an immune problem. The pred was doing more harm than good, it was sucking the life out of him. I am taking him to an alternative vet and just after one visit he is doing amazing. She did hands on work, acupuncture, we are changing his diet and he is taking a herb called Four Marvels.

    Though Shiloh is quite a bit younger than your boy (almost four) I made the decision to go with quality of life not quanity.

    I wish you well,
    Robin & Shiloh

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    Re: Excessive panting on prednisone

    I have two dogs with cushing's disease and panting is just one of many symptoms you'll see with this condition. My dogs have naturally occurring cushing's due to a lesion on the pituitary gland that causes the adrenals to produce too much of a steroid called cortisol. Prednisone is a synthetic form of this steroid and if administered to a dog long term, it will make the dog cushingoid. This condition is called "iatrogenic" cushing's. As others have mentioned, excessive drinking and peeing is another symptom, as is an intolerance to heat, lethargy, a voracious appetite and eventual muscle wasting. Blood and urine abnormalities found in dogs on prednisone can be identical to those of a typical cushingoid dog. The most common abnormalities are elevated cholesterol,elevated liver enzymes and dilute urine; however, abnormal kidney values are also not uncommon, especially with long term use of prednisone.

    Prednisone is a catabolic steroid that greatly affects protein metabolism. It basically breaks it down in record time so unless a dog with cushing's is in true renal failure, it is recommended that you feed a good quality high protein food. While it's been my experience that most vets aren't overly knowledgable of canine nutrition, you should still discuss any change in diet with your vet.

    Fortunately, the treatment for iatrogenic cushing's is simply to wean the dog off of prednisone; however, this may be a real problem in your case as it sounds as though this drug is bringing your dog much needed relief. I don't know if there is an alternative treatment for your dog's condition but you may want to discuss the possibility with your vet. At the very least, advise him/her of the symptoms you are seeing. Be aware that with continued treatment, it is very likely that you will see additional symptoms further down the road.
    Last edited by lulusmom; 04-03-2010 at 09:53 PM.

  8. #7
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    Re: Excessive panting on prednisone

    Thank you all for your responses. I will definitely try the cool towels. And yes, I do allow him access to water all the time. He drinks alot, but not non-stop. I never even thought about cushing's. Definitely a possibility. However, after the past couple of warm days, I have decided that when summer hits, I'm going to have Woody euthanized. I just don't think his quality of life is very good anymore, and the heat only makes it worse. He's very stiff, and occasionally even stumbles down the stairs now. I hate to have to lock him on one floor, as he worships me and follows on my heels wherever I go. He's been a wonderful dog, and I will miss him dearly, but I do believe the time has come.

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    Re: Excessive panting on prednisone

    I think that that is a good and humane decision and that it shows how much you care for Woody. I believe it is a gift to be able to send our pets to the bridge when life is no longer enjoyable to them.

    Enjoy your time you have left with him. It's supposed to cool down again later this week so you may be able to have a comfortable boy before the summer heat hits in amonth or so.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


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