It was over 16 years ago when our dog Shelby was diagnosed with lymphoma. I’ll never forget that she was fine when we took her to the vet’s, other than the swelling I felt in the crook of her front legs and chest. But from that time until we got the biopsy results she became symptomatic and it was frightening how fast it happened.
She had gotten to the point where she could barely get out a hoarse bark, because there was swelling that was beginning to press on her windpipe. We were scared. We chose a moderate course of treatment, to try and give her a little bit more time with us, but not put her through too much stress. She hated going to the vet. The first course of treatment was with prednisone, and I will never forget the fact that within 24-48 hours after starting that drug she was barking normally again.
There was another drug added to her treatment, and eventually it did get to the point where neither drug was working any longer. But for the time it was, she had a wonderful quality of life and we had about 3 months more with her. The cancer came back with a vengeance and took her quickly, but she did not suffer for long once that happened.
At the time I kept calling prednisone a “miracle drug”. For us it was, and that might be part of the reason when our vet currently proposed trying Samantha on it, that that’s ultimately what we decided to do (you can click here to learn more about what’s going on with Sam if you don’t know). I’ve been amazed again. Sam got her first dose of the drug (actually prednisolone but I believe they are basically the same) last Friday night, and we didn’t even get the full dose into her because she still wasn’t eating well. We had crushed it into her food and she ate some of it, but not all.
Yet the next morning, she showed up for breakfast like she used to. Then later that day, she showed up for supper. We had gotten some Greenies pill pockets to try with her (honestly, I didn’t think she’d eat them). She chowed down those pill pockets, with all three pills plus her 4th thyroid drug, like they were the best thing in the world.
She didn’t show up to eat consistently over the next couple of days, but when we’d go get her to eat, she seemed much more willing to do so. She’s been out of hiding more these last two days, she’s been taking her pills like a champ, and she’s been showing up to eat 2 or 3 times a day.
Granted, we know that one of the side effects of prednisone is increased appetite, so we don’t know if it will continue. She’ll be on this dose for 2 weeks and then the dosage will be reduced. We know this might not be a long term solution (there are other side effects to be aware of as well) and we don’t even know what we’re treating her for….cancer or IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), since we declined to have any invasive tests done. But we’ll take her feeling better and eating more for now. We also might add a probiotic to her diet now that she is eating better, which could help if it is IBD.
It’s not length of life we’re looking for here anyway, it’s quality of life (though we’ll be thrilled with the more length we get!). We don’t want Sam to spend the rest of whatever time she has left hiding out, having to be dragged out and coaxed to take pills and eat some food. That’s not fun for any of us. She’s always been a loner, and always hidden out to an extent, but we want her to come out willingly to see us and we want her to enjoy eating. I think her coat is starting to look healthier again too. That could be because of the daily brushings, or because of the thyroid now being under control, but we’ll take it either way.
She’s still a bit fussy about her canned food, but she always has been. Notice in the photo below that she prefers to eat out of the can rather than the dish. We don’t know what that’s all about, but we don’t care how she does it, as long as she’s eating!
I know this is a bit wordy, but we’re joining the Wordless Wednesday blog hop hosted by BlogPaws. Please visit other blogs through the links below!
Jackie Bouchard says
Glad to hear she is doing better. Showing up for meals sure seems like a good sign. My friend’s dog was declared “in remission” for his cancer after taking prednisone. Unfortunately it came back somewhat quickly, but it was amazing how it made his tumor disappear for a while! If only they could harness it somehow for longterm use! Hope you have a lot more good quality time with Sam!
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
Prednisolone is a great drug. It is given to cats and it is converted to prednisone in the liver. Yes it can cause some side effects live increased liver values which usually happens with long term use but in my opinion the benefits from using it and getting the animals to eat and feel better is better than the risks. Glad Sam is feeling better.
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Glad the prednisone is helping!
The Island Cats says
We’re glad the pred is helping Sam. Ernie is currently on pred because of his allergies. And he has taken it with good success for his back issues (he has intervertebral disc disease). It does increase his appetite too…and he’s driving me crazy begging for food. 🙂
Island Cat Mom
I’m glad to hear that pred is helping Ernie too! Sam mostly had a pretty big appetite before the whole thyroid thing came about, so now she’s just getting to be back to normal for us….showing up in the kitchen about every two hours looking for food!
Glad to hear that Sam is starting to eat a little more. Can she tell Soth that pill pockets are good?? He’ll eat an empty one, but put a pill in there and he won’t touch it. Crush things up on his wet food, no go. The few times he’s needed antibiotics, I’ve paid more for the super injection at the vet’s office because one shot is much better than attempting to give him meds multiple times a day!
Sam is getting a little more difficult with the pill pockets…she’s sometimes dropping the pills now and we have to wrap it in another one. Maybe it’s a ploy to get more pill pockets!
We had another cat that was hyperthyroid years ago, and we could not get him to take a pill to save our lives! I don’t think they had pill pockets back then!
I hope the Prednisone continues working properly for Sam. Good to know that the pill pockets work good too! Sam’s situation certainly sounds hopeful!
I’m glad that you have found a treatment that works for your pets! I hope that you are able to find a more long term or curative solution for Samantha. She’s a beautiful cat. I love it that she has her own little quirks, like eating out of a can. Prayers and purrs are headed her way. 🙂
Talent Hounds says
Really hope the pred continues to give Sam better quality of life and not too many side effects. Certainly sounds and looks hopeful. Thinking of you X Susie and Kilo
Ann Staub says
Pred can seem like a miracle drug in some cases. I’ve seen it do wonders for a little bit for pets like Sam and some pets with lymphoma like your dog. Prednisolone is pretty much the same, but it’s the cat version. Shiner was on pred for some skin issues a few months ago and I hated it… she turned into a giant excessively-hungry-all-the-time and pee monster. But, I would give it to her again if she were in a similar situation to what you’ve described here.
Sam doesn’t seem to be drinking excessively so far, but her appetite keeps getting better and better. We worked full time when we had Shelby on it, and I remember we had to ask a neighbor to come let her out during the day because she peed so much (and I don’t think we ever got to sleep a whole night through then either).
I hope it will only have to be a short term thing for Sam.
Sharon Seltzer says
I’m glad prednisone was helpful for your pets, but it’s been a double-edged sword for my dog Cody. In fact we are due at the vet’s office this afternoon for blood work and a refill of pred. The drug does what it’s supposed to do to reduce inflammation, but it also causes muscle wasting and in Cody’s case it’s making his legs so weak he can barely stand up anymore. Prednisone for short term use is good, but the long term effects are awful. I appreciate your post!
And I appreciate your input. I’m sure there’s a huge difference between short term and long term use. I’ve known people on pred too and it was very hard on them as well. Hopefully Sam just needs this boost to get her appetite back and when we start weaning her off she’ll still eat well. One day a time.
Poor Cody, I hope there is something they can do to help him.
Travel Animal Doctor says
I am glad she is feeling better, and am sure she loves the time and attention spent getting her coat brushed.
Dolly the Doxie says
We are not fans of Prednisone, because of the side effects. I’ve tried it before but my stomach can’t handle it even with Pepcid. But, I’m glad its helping Sam. Love Dolly
M. K. Clinton says
We have had Prednisone too and it really does help. I’ve never tried a Pill Pocket, but I’ve been tempted.
So glad to hear she is doing better. We’ve used Prednisone a few times for various things with the dogs and it does seem to give a good boost.
Groovy Goldendoodles says
So many tough decisions when it comes to choosing the right med’s for your pets. Happy to hear Sam is on the mend, and I’m impressed about the pill pockets. It never worked here in Doodleville unfortunately. I’ve got to just stick them down the throat LOL
When Sam was at the vet’s and they wanted to look at her teeth, the vet could barely get her to open her mouth…so we were hoping we weren’t going to have to try to do her pills that way!
Our dogs have always been good about taking pills, wrapped up in a little beef or cheese. And I think our cat Conrad wouldn’t have any problems taking any either….unfortunately they don’t make a pill for old age, which is really the only thing that ails that poor old guy.
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
Aw that’s so great to hear that it’s working for Sam!!! I really and truly hope it continues to work!!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
2 Brown Dawgs says
I am happy that you found something to help her. I hope she continues to improve.
easy rider says
Sam, I’m glad to read that the meds help and that you feel better. I was on prednisone once too and I ate the food even including the can, I was hungry like a whale :o) I think it’s a good short-time treatment what helps nearly immediately after you took it… but the side effects are a little dangerous.
I still cross my paws for you beautiful Sam :o)
Thank you, Easy! Sam’s appetite keeps getting better and better and she still seems to be tolerating the meds well. But I think the plan is cut the dose back after another week, so hopefully long term side effects won’t be an issue.
Pam and Sam says
Sounds like Sam is holding her own alright……….glad she likes the pill pockets – that sure makes it easier! My Sam would NOT eat them…..but crushing his pill and getting him to eat it with baby food HAS worked. I’d like for him to eat more – he’s always been a fussy eater like your Sam. Now even moreso. At some point we may have to go for the appetite stimulant but he’s going every 4 months for checkups and so far so good (according to our vet). We hope Sam will be just fine…………your Sam AND my Sam!!!!!
I’m so glad, Pam, that your Sam has still been doing well too. I don’t trust our Sam to like the pill pockets forever so I’m keeping the baby food thing in the back of my mind for sure! Our vet never mentioned appetite stimulants either so that’s something else I’ll keep in mind, though I hope we won’t need them either. Paws crossed for both Sams! xxoo
Hey Pam….Sam is starting to be fussy about the pill pockets (go figure). Can you tell me what kind of baby food you use for your Sammy? Thanks!
One of mom’s heart kitties was on pred for a couple years. It worked for her, but Mom doesn’t like it and says it would be a last resort now that she knows more about it. At the time it seemed like the right thing to give the kitty. It has so many side effects, that is the problem with it.
Thanks for letting me know that. I think it’s probably good for short term use, but long term might be a whole different story. We’ll just have to wait and see….I think the plan is to wean Sam back off it and see how she does. I will certainly question the vet about side effects if it looks like they want her on it longer.
The Daily Pip says
Yes, I agree it’s always about quality of life not necessarily quantity. We have had several cats in the past who have been on prednisone and it worked very well for them and I believe gave us extra time with them. I hope it continues to help Sam and that you have many more wonderful days and years with her.
Its so hard when pets are sick, we can feel so helpless. Sending you lots of love!