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Losing Weight On Prednisone


Guest MeAndMouse
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Guest MeAndMouse

Mouse was diagnosed with Evans Syndrome (IMHA and ITP) about a month ago and has been on 40mg of Prednisone ever since. It seems like she's melting away. She literally feels like skin and bones.

 

Her last vet visit was last Wednesday with a specialist, and he seemed really concerned with her weight, but only said to try to get her to eat more. She's already eating a lot, but she's not putting on weight. They're doing a TLI, folate and B12 test to look for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, but the results still aren't back.

 

Her PCV/hematocrit is at least stable right now (but still low), but I feel like she's losing weight by the minute. How thin is too thin? If she's still getting around without trouble is she okay?

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Our first girl was on a high dose of pred. because of her IBD.

She weighed 59 lbs. when she started on it and within a couple months, she had gotten down

to 42. Muscle wasting. Dry, thinning hair. Just not good.

We were able to taper down the dosage and she started to level out and gain some weight back.

That, plus her eating a ton of home cooking helped.

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See if the brand of food you have her on has a "puppy" food. They typically have more calories than adult food. You can also add carbs with overcooked pasta, or make a simple crockpot stew to add in to her kibble.

 

Depending on what the test results are, talk with your vet (or have him/her refer you to a canine nutritionist) about what is safe to add, and how much.

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40 mg. Kasey was on 10mg and had difficulty with weight so I can only imagine how Mouse is doing. Is there an alternative that can be used to treat her? (I'm not familiar with what she has). It is certainly a muscle wasting and weight losing med. Kasey was also not a big eater so it was tough for him but, if Mouse eats, I say try some satin balls if you/she is able. He also enjoyed high caloric wet gastro food by Royal Canin. Not cheap but so much calories in a can was certainly beneficial. Thinking about this, I'd suggest trying a can right away to see how she handles it on her digestive system. I was aiming for a big punch in small packages since he ate so very little. How's her appetite?

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Do you think it's more muscle-wasting than actual weight (fat) loss? My boy has been on steroids for several years now due to an autoimmune condition. His dose has varied from 100mg per day to 7.5mg every other day, and is currently 25mg per day.

 

The muscle loss has always been our biggest issue. What I have found is that once he gets down to 12.5mg per day, all side effects begin to reverse, including the muscle-wasting. He's a big boy though, so if your girl is small it might be that her side effects won't begin to reverse until she's on a smaller dose than that. If the weight loss is due to muscle-wasting from the steroids, giving extra calories probably won't help (assuming that she's already getting sufficient), and will probably just increase the amount of body fat, whilst doing nothing for the muscle loss. This is what I've found anyway.

 

Is there any plan to reduce her steroids? If not, are they considering adding another immune-suppressing drug which may allow the steroids to be reduced? I haven't found anything so far that helps with the muscle wasting other than reducing the steroid dose, if possible. My boy has at times had a very worrying degree of muscle loss and weakness but this has always reversed, not completely but to some degree, as soon as the steroids are reduced.

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In my mind, Pred is a double edged sword. It can be a lifesaver, but on the other hand.........

I had a houndie years ago with IMHA who was put on Pred and wasted away. At the time, I was sure

the Pred was going to kill him before the disease did.

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.

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Guest MeAndMouse
I started feeding her low-fat food a few weeks ago after reading on here and elsewhere about the pancreatitis risks. Right now she’s getting quite a mix of things. She’s on reduced fat Wellness (this is always available for her to eat and I do some mix-ins with it), a few different kinds of low-fat canned food, Honest Kitchen, rice, boiled chicken, low-fat cottage cheese, etc. She’s hungry all the time, eats a lot, but it doesn’t seem like she’s putting on any weight. It seems like she’s lost both fat and muscle.


June 30, 2015

52.6 lbs

I brought her in for vaccines and to discuss that I thought she was losing weight and getting lethargic.


August 20, 2015

48.6 lbs

I brought her in because she was definitely losing weight and her coat was terrible. This is when she was diagnosed.


August 27, 2015

48.6 lbs


August 31, 2015

48.6 lbs


September 9, 2015

48.4 lbs


So her weight at least seems stable after going on meds, but I feel like she’s lost more weight this past week. She’s going back to the vet tomorrow for bloodwork, so I’ll get another weight then.


The specialist told me not to worry about feeding low-fat. He just said to feed her canned food and get some weight on her. He also said most dogs gain weight on Prednisone, but I’ve read a lot about dogs losing weight (even mentioned in posts above). It says he specializes in "Gastrointestinal (including liver and pancreas), Endocrine, Pulmonary, Renal and Immune Mediated Diseases"…so I would think he knows what he’s talking about, but? I’ve kept her diet mostly low-fat still. Is he focusing too much on weight loss being caused by something else and ignoring the effect Pred is having?


About meds…he said he wants to add Cyclosporine if her PCV doesn’t increase. Really frustrated with vets at this point. Cyclosporine is supposed to take weeks to start working… he probably got the blood results back late last week, but still hasn’t called and told me if we’re adding it in or not… meanwhile she wastes away. He said once her levels are normal that he wants to keep her on the same dose of Pred for two weeks, than we can decrease. I’m not sure if Pred can be reduced when Cyclosporine is added or not. I will ask him if he ever calls me. (I did call him yesterday to ask about the results… someone else called back and gave me the CBC results. They said they were still waiting on the GI panel and would talk to me about Cyclosporine then.)


So it sounds like there might not be much I can do aside from reducing Pred, if that’s even possible. I’m still unsure about whether I need to keep feeding a low-fat diet or not...or if adding more fat in would even help.


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Sounds like your hound's weight has leveled off. Honestly, just adding calories may help but, muscle may not build again until the pred dose is reduced. Once on the cyclosporine hopefully the pred dose can be slowly dropped and those pred side effects should dissipate.

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Difficult, isn't it. With my boy, even though I was aware of the risk of pancreatitis, I didn't worry too much about feeding him a very low fat diet. I just stuck to a reasonably low fat diet and avoided high-fat treats etc. We didn't have any issues, but each dog is different. If you feel that she's losing fat as well as muscle, you could try feeding her more to see if it helps, as it could be that she isn't getting enough calories from the low-fat food. Just watch that she doesn't start getting too much fat over her ribs, otherwise you'll end up with a fat dog with weak muscles, which is the worst of both worlds! I too was told by the specialist that dogs usually put on weight with pred, but it certainly wasn't true for us for the first few months. After that, he did start to get fat, but still with weak muscles. Her weight loss doesn't seem too extreme at the moment.

 

You don't want to be in too much of a hurry to reduce the pred because if you do she might relapse. This happened to our boy. There are lots of different protocols for reducing pred, but I have generally followed Professor Day's protocol, which is here just for your information: http://cimda.co.uk/smf/index.php?topic=368.0 If you add in another drug then you may be able to reduce the pred faster. I have no experience with this as we managed our boy just on pred. It's like walking a tightrope at times, weighing up the response of the disease to the drug against the side effects the dog is experiencing.

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When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship. ~ W Scott Lineberry

Always Greyhounds Home Boarding and Greyhounds With Love House Sitting

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Excellent news!

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When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship. ~ W Scott Lineberry

Always Greyhounds Home Boarding and Greyhounds With Love House Sitting

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Thanks for all the info/advice/links, everyone!

 

I got another weight on her at the vet this morning. She gained a few lbs and is at 51.3 now!

Great news all around. Murphy's case was different, because he was terminal (Lymphoma) and we weren't going to be able to decrease the prednisone, but going to four meals a day, 2 with kibble + chicken & two smaller meals of chicken and rice, helped him feel better at least. Our vet advised that more, smaller meals added are easier on their system than a lot more food in the same number of meals.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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  • 4 years later...
On 9/15/2015 at 6:54 AM, DesiRayMom said:

In my mind, Pred is a double edged sword. It can be a lifesaver, but on the other hand.........

I had a houndie years ago with IMHA who was put on Pred and wasted away. At the time, I was sure

the Pred was going to kill him before the disease did.

My Max is on prednisone and is wasting away I can’t take it anymore it’s so sad to see this !!!

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I also had a hound with IMHA on a high dose of Pred.  We had frequent rechecks, and the internal med vet looking after him ended up reducing his dose a little and also accelerated the step-down timeline as much as he safely could as a result.  Every case is different but in Jeff's case there were no negative health consequences from those changes.

He lost muscle mass and weight - truly was pretty much skin and bones.  I put a light coat on him when we went out in part for his comfort, and in part because I was afraid someone would report me to Animal Control for cruelty. 

He gradually returned to good condition as the dose tapered slowly down, and the disease came under control.  All of which is a long way to say, if you haven't already, perhaps talk to Max's vet about changing the dose.

Why is Max on Pred?

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