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Long-term Prednisone Outlook...

Guest MargotLucille

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Guest MargotLucille

Hi Everyone!


Approximately 2 months ago I posted here on Greytalk about the difficulties my girl Margot was having with her housebreaking. As it turned out, she had recently received a prednisone injection for her severe allergies, which was more than likely a huge part of the problem. Fast-forward to now--we revisited the vet yesterday, as the shot had long worn off and Margot was back to the itchies. It has become obvious that prednisone injections are not the answer for her, and vet prescribed this new regimen of meds:


Prednisolone Acetate Opthalmic Suspension USP (1%)--a topical steroid eye drop administered directly to the eye twice daily for the first few days, then once daily

Prednisone (20mg)--pill given once daily for 7 days, then weaned down as far as we can go, which is the dosage at which she stay for the remainder of her life.


I've had Margot for 8 months, and she's been severely itchy the entire time I've known her, often to the point of causing damage to her eyelids and gums due to her excessive and HARD itching. At this point, her vet has seemed to rule out seasonal allergies, as her itchies have lasted through two season changes. He mentioned the possibility of an autoimmune disorder, but discouraged further testing for both that and specific allergies, as we would be looking at lots of money and the potential of few answers. Also, he claimed that regardless of diagnosis, her treatment would remain the same: she will more than likely need to be on the pred for the remainder of her life. His hope is that by giving the pred eye drops, it will hopefully allow us to lessen the dosage of the oral steroid, but currently, we're on the "wait and see" plan, as he isn't hopeful that it will help all that much.


I can't express how heartbroken I am for this dog. I am aware of the potential difficulties and shorter life that Margot may face with life-long prednisone use, and I hate to think that by giving her the drug (and depending on what dosage we finally end up at) I may eventually be hurting her more than I'm helping her. Does anyone here know of any other possible alternative treatments for the never-ending itchies? I've had her on Benedryl in the past (2 adult pills 2x daily), and it really didn't help much. Food allergies were ruled out through a restricted diet this summer, however I'm going to give her one more trial on Natural Balance "Fish and Sweet Potato" food, just to be sure.


Also, knowing what I do about how difficult it is for Margot to hold her urine on the Pred, I think I need to acquire some "bad girl panties" ASAP! If anyone could help me with how to go about this, it would be much appreciated!




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This may sound ridiculous but I would be concerned about keeping anything on her because of something that will be that wet could cause other problems. Just a thought

Edited by cbudshome


Missing my little Misty who took a huge piece of my heart with her on 5/2/09, and Ekko, on 6/28/12



:candle For the sick, the lost, and the homeless

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The best thing to try, to rule out food allergies, is a true elimination diet, where you feed one thing only for at least 12 weeks. One thing meaning NOT a commercial food but something like, say, beef. And only beef. No other treats, no supplements, nothing else. Usually it's recommended that you try to find a novel protein that the dog has never had before, but that can be next to impossible these days (as well as prohibitively expensive).


The reason I would suggest trying the above rather than trying a commercial food is that dogs can be allergic to the darnedest things. My angel Batman was allergic to fish/fish oil, which is in almost every commercial food on the market, as well as often being prescribed to cure itchy skin ......


I feed most of my meats cooked, but you could also feed them raw. For elimination diet purposes, there's no difference.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest fruitypebbles

just want to agree whole heartedly with batmom. Also, just want to add, if you know a goat farmer, see if you can buy a goat and have it butchered. usually that's the cheapest way to go to get 1 kind of meat and a goat (usually you can get 50+lbs of meat) and that would last you about 4 weeks. Or if you know someone who hunts elk...that could probably get you about 10 weeks of meat.


Also, bad girl panites may cause her to marinate in her own urine until changed, that could lead to UTI's and of course just marinating in her urine would be most uncomfortable.

Edited by fruitypebbles
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Guest Sassifrass

My senior girl Faye (13) is on a lifetime dose of 10 mg. of pred. twice a day. She has osteo in her pelvis and her back end has become weak, but the pred, along with tramadol, really seems to help her walk!


I know that your and my situations are very different and that Faye's lifespan is limited, but I really feel that, if the pred solves your pups itching problems, then it is worth it.


Faye uses a throw rug which I keep inside the front door for emergencies - mostly during the night. I buy the cheapest rug possible, although always one with a rubber backing, at KMart. I wash it everyday and when it fall apart, I buy another one. Faye taught herself this trick and has never had an accident anywhere else in the house.


Perhaps your pup might find a similar solution!

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I would ask for a referral to a dermatologist.


I've known a lot of itchy dogs, and I've never heard of a vet prescribing a constant course of steroids.


You didn't even mention antihistamine therapy--but that doesn't mean you haven't already tried it! I'm assuming this was just a general vet, and NOT a specialist?


Allergy testing doesn't always work, but it does sometimes, and it's not THAT expensive. A friend of mine with an English Bulldog had it done, and got shots to give his dog, and it helped him a lot.


I'd personally investigate some more options and/or get a second opinion before I'd go all steroids all the time.


And FYI, my last dog had terrible allergies, and not only did my vet REFUSE to give a shot (because once you've given it, you can't "turn it off" if there are unwanted side effects), she would not prescribe prednisone for more than a 2 week course every few months.


Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Adding to all the thoughts above, has she seen a veterinary opthamologist for her eyes? Does she have any other symptoms elsewhere - paws, groin, ears?


And I'd talk to another vet - this one seems a little inflexible.


Deirdre with Conor (Daring Pocobueno), Keeva (Kiowa Mimi Mona), & kittehs Gemma & robthomas.

Our beloved angels Faolin & Liath, & kittehs Mona & Caesar. Remembering Bobby, Doc McCoy, & Chip McGrath.

"He feeds you, pets you, adores you, collects your poop in a bag. There's only one explanation: you are a hairy little god." Nick Galifinakis

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There is hope too in that a lower dosage of pred usually doesn't have the frequent urination side effect. Icarus would pee rivers in the house when on a full dose of pred, but when weaned down to a "maintenance" dose, he would go as normal and could hold it 8+ hours.

Jennifer and Beamish (an unnamed Irish-born Racer) DOB: October 30, 2011


Forever and always missing my "Vowels", Icarus, Atlas, Orion, Uber, and Miss Echo, and Mojito.

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Liver disease and pred has caused lots of pee problems here. I used those pads they have for human beds and wheelchairs. Walmart is even cheaper than ordering online. Several by the back door and all the dog beds are one comforter covered by pads covered by another comforter. I was washing about 3 comforters a day.

And giving butt baths all the time. They are both now taking PPA for leakage. and it has helped tremenously. and one is coming down on her pred dose, so that helps. I think disposable and washable wherever I can do it. Panties were never enough coverage. I even tried human diapers, cut a tail hole and held in place by the panties but they leaked too.

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Not trying to scare you or anyone else, but our dog Sexi had to be on pred for 6 weeks, and it cost her her life. Her stomach perforated from using it. We had her on Rx strength Prilosec at the same time, (so that wouldn't happen) but it didn't help. I know they're all different, but I'm scared to use pred now.


Hoping you find a cure for the itchies..that has to be horrible to live with (and to watch her go through)



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Hi Leah - (Sorry, I did not read your original post.) My Indy's story is a l-o-n-g one, so I will try to be brief. During the first year post-adoption, Indy exhibited severe itching and hair loss (he was about 4 yrs old). Vet ran routine blood work; checked thyroid. Was told everything appeared okay. Eventually, we were referred to a dermatologist, where over the course of several years I blew an obscene amount of $$$. Ointments, antibiotics, antihistamines, intradermal testing, allergy shots, special shampoo -- you name it. Vet did not recommend Pred, but did prescribe some steroidal ointments.


Indy would lick himself raw and scratch. Lost fur on his hind end, belly, legs, neck, tail -- he looked like a plucked chicken. He would lick his genitals until they would bleed, then end up with staph infections in groin and on legs / hind end. Not to mention, Indy appeared very depressed and lethargic. I think the specialist finally exhausted all options and recommended the equivalent of a neoprene body suit for dogs. :huh At that point, I had had enough. I was frustrated and sad. It was heart-breaking to see my pupper so sick.


I circled back to Indy's regular vet and requested a thyroid panel (specialist maintained that wasn't the problem). I think the results came back borderline normal - or were at the low end of a particular value (sorry, can't recall exactly). Anyway, I said since nothing else is working and my hound is miserable - can we try him on thyroid meds for a few months? No harm, no foul?


After a few months on thyroid meds, Indy was like a new dog. In time, his fur grew back, staph infections ceased. No more antibiotics, antihistamines, ointments. Ta da!! Eventually discontinued the allergy shots as well.


Thyroid problems can manifest in very bizarre ways. Not the same for every person or dog. If you haven't already, I would urge you to get Margot's thyroid checked. And don't take no for an answer. (By the way, I don't think the specialist was particularly familiar with greyhound blood work.) Be Margot's advocate. And even if levels are low or borderline normal, try her on a course for a few months. You can always stop.


Indy still has some environmental allergies, but I am able to manage with an occasional Benadryl, if necessary. As for food, he eats Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach (salmon-based) with some Wellness Whitefish & Sweet Potato mixed in. No wheat, corn, soy, or beef.


Indy will be 11 in a few weeks. I swear he would have died years ago if the thyroid issue had not been addressed. Be persistent. It may very well be that Margot has other medical issues, but do some online surfing re canine thyroid issues - and don't give up hope.



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I would ask your Dr for a referral to a Derm Dr-long-term pred is NOT the answer. There are other meds like antibiotics, medicated shampoos, antihistamines (Chlortrimaton) that can be tried and other diagnostics that should be performed (cultures, skin scrapings, mite check, allergy testing, ringworm check, thyroid check......) Your current Dr is NOT helping her by just giving her pred--gezz that's his easy way out IMO. Don't be afraid to get that referral---he's not helping her.

Edited by tbhounds
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