When something is wrong with your doggo, pet owners often find themselves quickly spiraling into a panic. A timely trip to the veterinarian will often leave dog owners feelings more calm in one sense, per say, but potentially more concerned in other aspects. What are these medications? Are they all really necessary? Have you ever been prescribed steroids for your pet? What if I told you there is a natural alternative? Full Spectrum Hemp CBD vs Steriods!
Can I Give My Dog Prednisone And CBD Oil
When something is wrong with your doggo, pet owners often find themselves quickly spiraling into a panic. A timely trip to the veterinarian will often leave dog owners feelings more calm in one sense, per say, but potentially more concerned in other aspects.
What are these medications? Are they all really necessary? Why is there a laundry list of associated side effects?
Again, we understand what a worrisome time this can be for you. First, your four-legged love pup is sick, which is bad even on its own. But to add to that, you now have to make difficult choices regarding which medication is the right one for your pup.
The fine print may read that your dog’s allergy drug may also have negative, long-term side effects. Unfortunately, many drugs that we use to help our dogs feel better may have some serious side effects. This might not make sense, but it is the reality of many conventional medications.
I n this article, we are breaking down the popular steroid drug – prednisone. We hope we can answer all of your questions and concerns regarding prednisone. We want to help our readers become better educated on the medication so that they can make the best decisions as possible in terms of their pup’s health.
What is Prednisone
Prednisone is a synthetic steroid that is commonly prescribed to treat a wide variety of illnesses. In fact, you may have heard of this steroid before as it’s commonly prescribed to humans.
Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory drug and plays a key role in reducing inflammation in dogs and humans alike.
For instance, prednisone is often prescribed to treat inflammation and inflammatory conditions like neoplasia, asthma, arthritis, Addison’s disease, and anaphylactic shock.
What are Corticosteroids
Corticosteroids are often referred to as steroids. Cortisone, a corticosteroid, for example, is a steroidal hormone that is produced in the adrenal cortex of vertebrates.Corticosteroids are involved in many activities in your dog’s body, such as:
- Stress response
- Nutrient metabolism
- Control of inflammation
- Immune system response
These steroid hormones can too be produced synthetically, often in the form of prednisone.
Prednisone is very similar to cortisol (a naturally-produced adrenal hormone), but more potent. Cortisol is released in response to a stress occurrence. This release is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). Essentially what happens is this: when the body senses stress, the hypothalamus starts a chain reaction that leads to a release of cortisol by the adrenal glands.
When a dog has an illness that lowers natural and healthy levels of cortisol, a synthetic form of cortisol (like prednisone) is often required.
What is a Steroid
Steroids are synthetic drugs that are formulated to resemble the naturally produced cortisol and are used typically for medicinal purposes.
But aren’t steroids what people use illegally in sports or competition? These steroids are anabolic steroids, formulated to resemble testosterone.
However, steroids are also important in Western medicine to treat individuals suffering from a wide range of conditions.
Prednisone and prednisolone are corticosteroids that are used in treating inflammation and autoimmune diseases. They can help regulate the immune system.
Once a pet parent administers the prednisone, the dog’s liver metabolizes the medication into prednisolone.
If your pup has a pre-existing live condition, or any form of liver dysfunction for that manner, or even high liver enzymes, then your vet will likely prescribe prednisolone instead of prednisone.
By prescribing prednisolone, the vet can ensure that your pup is able to absorb and process the drug safely and effectively.
Typical Prednisone Use
Prednisone is typically used in the treatment of the following ailments:
- Skin diseases (eczema, itchy skin, dermatitis)
- Autoimmune disease
- CNS disorders
- Liver conditions
- Anaphylactic shock
- Addison’s disease
- Cushing’s disease
- Arthritis-associated joint pain
- Inflammatory orthopedic conditions
Prednisone Dog Side Effects
Common side effects of prednisone include:
- Skin infections
- Increased hunger/thirst
- Skin infections
Prednisone Side Effects: The Long Term
If your vet prescribes prednisone for a long duration ( > 4 months), make sure that you are regularly taking your pup to see the vet to monitor long-term effects, like liver and kidney dysfunction.
Here’s a list of potential adverse effects of long-term prednisone and prednisolone usage:
- Gastric ulcers
- Muscle weakness
- Increased risk of infection
- Muscle weakness
- Urinary tract infections
- Development or worsening of diabetes
Administering Prednisone to Your Dog
Most vet medical experts state that the use of prednisolone and prednisone should be used only for a short term and more so even at small doses to reduce the possibility of potential adverse reactions.
You may not notice one specific side effect of prednisone. However, that one little symptom can turn into multiple overnight. This is why it’s extremely important for dog parents to be aware of the potential side effects to be able to know what to look for.
Common doses of prednisone and prednisolone are:
- 1 mg/lb to suppress the immune system
- 0.5 mg/lb for anti-inflammation
Your vet will take into consideration your dog’s specific condition and needs to determine the exact dose your pup will need.
Furthermore, it’s extremely important that pet owners do not miss a dose when administering the steroid.
Prednisone for dogs must be given at the same time of the day (or as close as possible to the same time) and at even time intervals (i.e. every 12 hours).
Again, prednisone is used when the body is not sufficiently making enough cortisol on its own. However, do note, prednisone is not intended for permanent use for the deficiency.
Natural Alternatives for Dogs
Luckily, there are other options. As dog parents we are fortunate enough to be living in a time where we have natural alternatives available.
Everyday, more holistic options are making way in the world of natural remedies (hashtag grateful).
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a wonderful, natural, non-toxic option for your four-legged friend. Here, at Petly CBD, we’ve got what you need. CBD Treats? Yep. Hemp CBD Oil? Yep.
Although CBD is our favorite all-natural remedy, we want to provide you pet parents with information on other supplemental herbs that can benefit your doggo.
Turmeric is a great herbal solution for a wide array of inflammatory conditions. It has an anti-inflammatory effect without the potential toxic adverse effects. Turmeric is also great for pet owners (aka you)!
3. Yucca Root
This herbal supplement is definitely one you want to look into. Yucca root contains beneficial levels of the following:
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin C
Furthermore, studies have shown that yucca root alleviates allergies and arthritis and joint pain. Also, yucca root has been shown to boost your pup’s appetite.
However, do note that you should not give your pup yucca root on a daily basis. Too much yucca root may potentially irritate their digestive tract.
This natural herb is a great way to give your pup’s immune system a boost. It’s best to use echinacea on and off for optimal results.
5. Licorice Root
Have you heard of this incredible root? Well, get ready to be amazed. Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin (which functions as a natural corticosteroid). The herb stimulates the secretion of hormones in the adrenal gland. Aka, it aids in the production of the same hormones that prednisone aims to produce, except licorice root is all-naturale. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and reduces swelling. WIN. It helps ease skin conditions and common skin allergy symptoms.
Another excellent way to reduce inflammation and the associated pain and swelling? Ginger, my friends. The herbal solution blocks the body from producing chemicals.
This herb can reduce bone inflammation in an effective, healthy, and you guessed it – in a natural way.
I t’s easy to forget the importance of a healthy diet (in both us humans and our fur babies). We should think of food as a means of healing. Raw food diets have the necessary nutrients for your doggo to live their best life. Consult with your vet to devise a raw food diet that is best for your pup.
Prednisone for Dogs: Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, we understand your needs to ensure that your pup is living their best life possible. For this to be possible, as paw parents, we have to know as much as possible about what we are giving our fur babies.
Understanding the dangers of conventional medications is not an effort to concern or scare you, but rather to educate you on what’s going on out there. So all in all, don’t forget to consider a holistic, natural source of healing for your pup. You won’t regret it one bit
Steroids vs. CBD: A Topic of Truths and Transitions
Chances are that most humans and pets have been prescribed a steroid medication at some point in their life for treatment of one or more medical conditions. Whether it be for inflammation, allergies, or another type of illness, injectable and oral steroids have been applied by doctors and veterinarians for decades as a part of treatment plans due to their effectiveness in addressing numerous symptoms quickly and effectively. However, although the relatively fast effects felt by starting a steroid may be impressive, long-term use can and very often lead to serious side effects, both in humans and pets. Moreover, despite newer age doctors trying to move away from heavy use and dependence on steroids, this class of medications is still to this day used more than it should be, given that we know now what they likely lead to over time.
In comparison, CBD and other cannabis-based therapies have recently been found to effectively address a majority of the same symptoms steroids remediate, but do not tend to cause any of the same adverse long-term side effects steroids come with. Therefore, there is a huge potential promise in considering CBD as a legitimate therapeutic substitution for steroids when developing a safe and effective therapeutic treatment plan. Ultimately, when a life of longevity, health, and happiness is the long-term goal, understanding the ramifications and alternatives to steroid therapy is critical for the well-being of patients, including your pet.
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What are Steriods?
The term “steroid” simply describes a class of molecules that have a variety of influences and effects within an animal’s body. Specifically, there are “natural steroids” which our bodies make on their own, and “synthetic steroids” that are produced in laboratories that overlap with our internal bodily systems.
Steroids became widely popular in the 1940’s for inflammatory conditions . Corticosteroids in particular were and continue to be used to treat symptoms associated with arthritis and other degenerative musculoskeletal conditions. In fact, in 1950, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine went to Dr. Philip Hench, Edward Calvin Kendall, and Tadeus Reichstein for the discovery of cortisone and its applicable uses with rheumatoid arthritis.
Since their discovery and explosion onto the medical scene, steroids eventually became widely over-prescribed, as they were viewed as the “miracle drug” that could help with any and all conditions in conjunction with those initially known. However, as the repercussions of long-term use then began to surface as well, a shift towards healthier, long-term substitutions has slowly begun. Many doctors and veterinarians now only prescribe steroids for short-term applications and rely on multimodal therapies to promote long-term control of the underlying illness(es). However, many other medical professionals have not yet adopted this pattern, and still use steroids more often than is thought to be safe or required. T here are a small number of situations where steroids must be used for long-term immunosuppression (including some refractory autoimmune diseases and Addison’s Disease), but again, these are rather uncommon. Unless your pet has one of these conditions, steroids should be considered a short-term solution only.
The most common steroids prescribed by most veterinarians are prednisone, prednisolone, hydrocortisone topicals, and TEMARIL-P . Steroids do, in fact, reduce inflammation in the body, but not without a cost. The most common side effects of early steroid use include polyuria (excessive urination), polydipsia (excessive thirst), polyphagia (excessive signs of hunger despite not actually requiring more food), and panting. Steroids are also well-known for their serious, and sometimes dangerous, side effects including:
- Weight gain
- Salt and fluid retention
- Cardiac Problems (Heart)
- Increased secondary infection risk
- Slower wound healing
- Loss of muscle mass
- Hepatic Problems (Liver)
“ If any of the following serious side effects occur, stop giving Temaril-P and seek emergency veterinary medical attention ; an allergic reaction ( difficulty breathing; swelling of the lips, tongue or face; hives ). Trimeprazine can cause drowsiness, tremors and muscle weakness . Prednisolone may cause symptoms of Cushing’s disease which include increased thirst, urination and hunger as well as vomiting and diarrhea . Other side effects may also occur. Talk to your veterinarian about any side effect that seems unusual or bothersome to your pet. Do not give any other over the counter or prescription medications, including herbal products, during treatment with Temaril-P without first talking to the veterinarian. Many other medications can interact with Temaril-P resulting in side effects or altered effectiveness. These include sedatives, anesthetics, pain medications, epinephrine and procaine.”
As stated above, there are few cases where lifetime use of steroids is necessary. But, in the majority of cases where it is not a necessity, the body will become susceptible to developing one or more of the many side effects listed, and will also be subject to dependency and severe withdrawal effects if steroid therapies are discontinued too quickly. That’s why doctors generally advise a gradual tapering protocol off of steroids toward the end of a long-term treatment plan. Ultimately, if a steroid has been used for more than 7 days, then it is not advisable to stop this medication abruptly without the supervision of a medical professional, as this can prove detrimental to your pet’s health as well.
What are Steriods Used for?
Oral steroids are the most commonly prescribed medication for dogs (and us). These medications again are synthetic steroids, meaning they are not naturally produced by our body . They are most often prescribed to treat inflammatory conditions, skin conditions, non-infectious respiratory diseases, and degenerative neuromusculoskeletal conditions.
According to Dr. Gary Richter , “ steroids are some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory medications available .” Because of this, they tend to be a commonplace treatment for pets with skin and respiratory conditions. Dr. Richter continued to state, “ despite steroids’ ability to reduce inflammation, their long term side effects far outweigh their benefits .”
CBD is being researched as a ‘steroid-sparing option.’ A study published in Current Neuropharmacology indicated CBD has therapeutic benefits for both people and pets who suffer from chronic pain. There is an abundance of compounds found to reduce inflammation in both us and our pets. The most common phytocannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant, THC and CBD, both possess anti-inflammatory properties. Other minor cannabinoids, including CBG, CBC, and THCV were also found to provide anti-inflammatory properties as well.
According to Future Medicinal Chemistry , “ cannabinoids have exhibited significant potential to be used as novel anti-inflammatory agents and specific targeting of CB2 receptors holds the promise of mediating immunosuppressive effects without exerting psychotropic side effects.”
A Baylor College of Medicine study, using In vitro and in mouse models, found that CBD significantly attenuated the production of proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α while elevating levels of anti-inflammatory IL-10. In the veterinary study, CBD significantly decreased pain and increased mobility in a dose-dependent fashion among animals with an affirmative diagnosis of OA.
According to a veterinarian named Steven Katz , who is one of only a few doctors applying CBD-based therapies in practice, “our experience in my clinic has shown cannabidiol (CBD) is an effective treatment in reducing inflammatory response . We have a passion for improving dogs’ quality of life, and we look forward to learning all we can about therapeutic methods to achieve this.”
The Ultimate Question: Steriods vs. CBD
First things first: If you are reading this and your dog is already taking steroids, it’s absolutely critical the regimen is not stopped immediately. Never attempt to taper this medication without the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
Taking a full-spectrum CBD-based product in combination with a steroid, like prednisone, will most likely (not guaranteed) not result in any detrimental adverse effects. Although both compounds are broken down by the liver, taking both at the same time is unlikely to cause “liver overload” unless the liver is already unhealthy (which would have been or can only be determined by submitting bloodwork with your veterinarian). If the liver is already “sick” then there may be hypothetical concerns regarding administering both at the same time, even though research up to this point has not proven such statements. The reason for this is because research indicates that CBD and other cannabis-based molecules are broken down by the “cytochrome p450 enzyme” group located in the liver, and that CBD specifically inhibits a component of the activity of a particular enzyme (CYP3A4) which is used by the body to break down numerous other molecules. The effects of this are still not entirely known, but with an unhealthy liver, it is highly advised to be more careful when considering any extra stress it may cause on this organ. We do know that Prednisone does cause liver “induction” resulting in numerous secondary effects, both on the liver’s functioning ability and its ability to handle other molecules simultaneously, such as CBD and the other active compounds in a full-spectrum product. Again though, each animal is an individual, and therefore, each case must be addressed individually before making any decisions or conclusions.
Of course, given what we know about steroids and CBD, we should all desire to get more pets off of long-term steroid use, and if appropriate, use a properly-vetted Full Spectrum Hemp CBD-based therapy to address the conditions steroids were originally applied for. But, this transition must be done responsibly. The overall goal is and should always be to promote a lifestyle of optimum healthiness and happiness. With the proper diet, natural supplements, and safe remedies in times of illness like a properly vetted full-spectrum CBD-based product, there is an opportunity to enhance and maintain your pet’s overall well-being without abusing and over-using pharmaceuticals, in an age where pharmaceuticals still seem to be king.
Dr. Zac Pilossoph
Dr. Zac Pilossoph, a Long Island, NY born, nationally recognized veterinary medical professional, a top graduate of Tufts University Veterinary School of Medicine with post-graduate focused training in E/CC and Neurology/Neurosurgery at two of the most recognized programs in the country, and a young multidimensional serial entrepreneur, has rapidly and collaboratively helped promote a new wave of global evolution and individual empowerment in more ways than one. In addition to developing and launching several novel platforms in the veterinary and mental health fields, he is now quickly joining some of the most reputable leaders in the cannabis education and innovation space. Dr. Pilossoph is determined to synergize with colleagues, allowing evidence-based information to fuel a rapidly expanding industry. As one of the world’s most proactive cannabis-focused experts in his respective industry, Dr. Pilossoph provides tremendous value by delivering non-bias, harm reduction education, via both large-scale speaking engagements and individualized consultations, to the global cannabis pet and vet industry. Further, he is a Certified CBD Professional Educator through the CBD Training Academy and has started a nationally influential multi-tiered cannabis brokerage firm titled Excelsior Honour Associates. Lastly, he acts as a consultant for the CBD product space in order to impart as much quality, control, and consistency across the industry as much as possible. Ultimately, through candid education, fierce collaboration, and constructive evolution, Dr. Pilossoph is reversing stigmas and advancing the safe and effective consideration of cannabis into society, for all creatures on Earth.