Prednisone is a problem. Period. You take your sick dog to the vet. Maybe they are itchy, have an ear infection, a cyst, vasculitis, dermatitis, arthritis, or some other disease ending in "itis," and your vet, will unsurprisingly prescribe some kind of drug in the form of a steroid, usually Prednisone, Prednisolone, or Dexamethasone. Prednisone and the generic versions are a problem and you should stay away unless it is an emergency/life-threatening situation.
Steroids are a "man-made version of hormones normally produced by the adrenal glands," that are intended to reduce inflammation and "reduce the activity of the immune system, which is the body's natural defense against illness and infection" (Source: NHSUK).
Further, according to the VCA (an animal hospital owned by MARS inc.) states that steroids "are commonly used to treat mild inflammatory conditions and/or to suppress the inflammation associated with an allergic response. When administered in high doses, they act as immunosuppressant drugs meaning they suppress or prevent an immune response" (Source: VCAHospitals).
So here's where things get wild and cray. If you are taking your dog to the vet for some illness, their immune system is already compromised. Sure, steroids can reduce inflammation, but its' at the expense of your dogs' already compromised immune system. Prednisone is a problem. Not a solution.
Instead of figuring out why your dog is sick in the first place, which is probably due to too many vaccines, too much medication and a lack of nutrients, vets will prescribe steroids that will hide the symptoms temporarily, and in turn, cause short and long-term side effects:
Short-term side effects include:
- Increased thirst and appetite
- Frequent urination
- Development or worsening of infections (especially bacterial skin infections)
- Vomiting or nausea
Long-term side effects include:
- Behavior changes, including aggression
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Thin skin and poor hair coat
- Poor wound healing
- Muscle weakness
- Increased risk of developing secondary bacterial or fungal infections
- Predisposition to diabetes
- Cushing’s disease
In my own experience, I have literally never seen a dog permanently heal whatever condition using steroids. Typically, we think we are seeing improvements because the symptoms disappear for a while, but once the steroids stop, the symptoms reappear with a vengeance. This is because the steroids suppress the immune system and do not heal the underlying issue in the first place.
According to this study that assessed behavioral changes in dogs treated with corticosteroids, "provide the first empirical evidence of possible adverse psycho-behavioural side effects in a veterinary clinical setting following the use of corticosteroids, and suggest the need for concomitant behavioural advice when these drugs are used in general veterinary practise to avoid the risks associated with these changes." So basically, this study shows that steroid consumption is linked to behavioral changes. Prednisone is a problem.
It's also important to note that Pfizer, the parent company of Zoetis (the behemoth that manufactures pet vaccines and pills) and also a MARS inc. (the sugar company that owns the VCA, mentioned above, and basically everything else in the vet business) collaborator, is the number 1 manufacturer of Dexamethasone (Source: ThomasNet).
So, if these side-effects have been documented and well-researched, why do vets continue to prescribe to dogs that already have a compromised immune systems?
Vet schools don't teach vets how to keep animals healthy in the first place. The veterinary industry is in the business of keeping animals alive, not curing them or keeping them healthy. The focus has been and always will be to treat symptoms instead of finding the true root cause. Vet schools are funded by the dog food guy, the dog food guy is also owned by the vaccine guy and the vaccine guy makes the laws on what makes what legal and what is approved. The dog food guy is also friends with the vet board guy because the vet board guy is funded by the vaccine guy.
So, if your vet suggests steroids as a cure for the itchies or any of the "itis" ending diseases that are not imminently life-threatening:
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