Is it safe for my dog to take prednisolone on a long-term basis?

Our question this week was:

Can my 12 yr. old Norwegian Elkhound take predisolone 10 mg. per day on a more long-term basis without it hurting him? He was limping several weeks ago. The vet checked him out and sent him to a specialist. The specialist thought he might have FCE or a possible tumor on the cervical spine and/or cord. They placed him on prednisolone 10 mgs 2x a day for 7 days, then 10 mgs 1x per day for 7 days, and now 10 mgs. 1x every other day for 7 days. He began doing great after a few days beginning the prednisolone. Now that he is being weaned, he is getting worse. They suggested having an MRI done but the University of Penn said they are uncertain whether to anesthetize him because they picked up on a heart murmur. So not really knowing what to do, the prednisolone did seem to help when they began him on it.

Robin Roberts


Hi – thanks for your email Robin. Sorry to hear about your dogs problem. Your question was basically – 'Is it dangerous to keep your dog on long-term prednisolone?' Excellent question.

Prednisolone is a steroid drug. As you may know – long-term use of prednisone or prednisolone (and other steroids) can cause some liver problems and suppression of the bodies ability to make steroids.

The dosage and schedule seems very appropriate to me.

Sometimes giving steroids is a balancing act looking at the benefits and risks. I think in this situation – the benefit may outweigh the risk. Your dog is already 12-years-old and I don't think the long-term affects will be an issue. I believe it is more likely that the underlying problem that is requiring or benefiting form the steroids will be the bigger issue. I'd follow your vet's recommendations about the prdnisolone use.

It really sounds like you are doing all the right things to help you dog (including seeing a specialist).

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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