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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone, my recently-adopted dog just underwent heartworm treatment ("low positive" test result, 2 injections of immiticide), and was prescribed Prednisone for approximately two weeks: 7 days of 1mg/kg, 5 days of .5mg/kg, and a tapering-off period of 3 alternating days of .5mg/kg.
Some resources online claim that giving a dog 7 consecutive days of Prednisone can lead to dependency, and is not recommended. Based on these resources, I'm concerned for my dog's long-term health. Advice would be much appreciated.
 

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Yes the steroid can lead to dependency, that's why you taper off. I've had to do that a couple times and haven't ended up with a dope fiend yet.
 

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Yes the steroid can lead to dependency, that's why you taper off. I've had to do that a couple times and haven't ended up with a dope fiend yet.
Ahahah. Yeah, basically the dependence here (OP) is that the dog's own body starts making less of some things in response to the pred. So you taper the dose, which allows the body to step back in. It's really not something to worry about, it's just not medication you can stop abruptly.
 

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I had to take opiates for pain. If you take them for as little as a month you are 'addicted'. Yup. First time I thought no big deal since I didn't want to be on them anyway and was already down to a single low dose pill per day. Didn't taper off properly and I suffered for a couple weeks with diarrhea and hot flashes and I forget what else. Second time I tapered off properly and had fewer and milder side effects. Not just abusers that have issues with dependency on a drug! Assume the same thing with the steroid, if you don't taper correctly then dog will suffer some side effects. Amazing that such a short course has to be taken so seriously. I am very glad those opiates were available during my recovery and I'm sure the steroids are the very best thing for your dog right now.
 

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I had to take opiates for pain. If you take them for as little as a month you are 'addicted'. Yup. First time I thought no big deal since I didn't want to be on them anyway and was already down to a single low dose pill per day. Didn't taper off properly and I suffered for a couple weeks with diarrhea and hot flashes and I forget what else. Second time I tapered off properly and had fewer and milder side effects. Not just abusers that have issues with dependency on a drug! Assume the same thing with the steroid, if you don't taper correctly then dog will suffer some side effects. Amazing that such a short course has to be taken so seriously. I am very glad those opiates were available during my recovery and I'm sure the steroids are the very best thing for your dog right now.
It's actually different with steroids - sort of. with things like opiates and narcotics you'll get side effects because your body is used to it. That is the same. With steroids, though, the steroids suppress adrenal function. when you remove the pred the adrenal glands either stops producing enough or overproduces. If you don't taper them off slowly, you can kill your dog.

https://www.vetinfo.com/how-to-taper-off-prednisone-dog-dosage.html

(No hesitation in using them mind - Jack was on them at the end of his life, and I've had other animals on and off for various reasons, but the slow taper is INCREDIBLY important if they're on them for any length of time.)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the detailed response CptJack. We followed the prescription and tapered off as it called for, but I'm still not convinced that it was necessary to put the dog through that long of a regimen. Hoping that as time goes on, more research becomes available, and shelter clinics get more organized.
 

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This is interesting.... considering my other post. I suppose by the time my dog gets back to the vet Monday, she'll be on the pred for 6 days... Never knew you had to taper, and my vet didn't mention it. Unless of course he did and that information simply wasn't relayed back to me. Which is totally possible. I guess I'll look at the scrip when I get home this evening...
 
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