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  • Author or Editor: Darren J. Berger x
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OBJECTIVE To investigate mechanisms by which anti-inflammatory doses of orally administered intermediate-acting glucocorticoids (prednisone) could predispose dogs to progression of heart disease or congestive heart failure.

ANIMALS 11 client-owned dogs with allergic dermatitis and 11 matched healthy control dogs.

PROCEDURES Clinicopathologic, echocardiographic, and hemodynamic variables were measured. Dogs with allergic dermatitis then received prednisone (1 mg/kg, PO) once daily for 14 consecutive days beginning on day 0 (baseline), followed by a tapering and washout period; control dogs received no treatment. Measurements were repeated on days 7, 14, and 35. Linear mixed modeling was used to compare changes in variables across measurement points and between dog groups.

RESULTS Prednisone administration caused no significant changes in serum sodium or potassium concentration, blood glucose concentration, or target echocardiographic variables. The change from baseline in systolic arterial blood pressure at day 7 was significantly greater in prednisone-treated dogs than in control dogs. Expected changes in hematologic and serum biochemical values with prednisone administration (neutrophilia, eosinopenia, isosthenuria, and high serum alkaline phosphatase and alanine aminotransferase activities) also occurred in the prednisone-treated dogs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Findings suggested that anti-inflammatory doses of orally administered glucocorticoids have the potential to adversely impact cardiac function in dogs by causing an increase in blood pressure and thus increased cardiac afterload.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To evaluate the clinicopathologic, hemodynamic, and echocardiographic effects of short-term administration of anti-inflammatory dosages of prednisolone to systemically normal cats.


10 cats with allergic dermatitis and 10 healthy control cats.


Cats with allergic dermatitis were randomly allocated to 2 groups and received 2 dosages of prednisolone (1 and 2 mg/kg/d, PO, for 7 days) in a crossover design followed by 9-day tapering and 14-day washout periods. Each prednisolone-treated cat was matched to a healthy control cat on the basis of sex, neuter status, age (± 1 year), and body weight (± 10%). Control cats received no treatment during the 35-day observation period. Clinicopathologic, echocardiographic, and hemodynamic variables were measured at baseline (day 0) and predetermined times during and after prednisolone administration and compared within and between the 2 treatment groups.


Prednisolone-treated cats had expected clinicopathologic alterations (mild increases in neutrophil and monocyte counts and serum concentrations of albumin, cholesterol, and triglycerides) but systolic arterial blood pressure; blood glucose, serum potassium, and cardiac biomarker concentrations; urinary sodium excretion; and echocardiographic variables did not differ significantly from baseline at any time. Statistically significant, albeit clinically irrelevant, increases in blood glucose and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide concentrations were observed between baseline and the prednisolone pharmacokinetic steady state (7 days after initiation) only when the 2-mg/kg dosage was administered.


Results indicated short-term oral administration of anti-inflammatory dosages of prednisolone did not cause relevant hemodynamic, echocardiographic, or diabetogenic effects in systemically normal cats with allergic dermatitis.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research