Canine Addison’s Disease: Update on ShaktiPosted: July 14, 2012
We moved house at the beginning of June. If you’ve been through a major downsizing house move before (we went from six bedrooms to three!), then you’ll know it’s a must that you can’t just pack your things — you have to look at everything you have and decide what to keep, what to trash and what to donate. I remember going through the pet cupboard and a large percentage of what was in there went to the Humane Society — nursing bottles for kittens, milk powder and cat litter box liners. Things I hadn’t looked at in over a year since the last little of kittens we fostered. Also in the cupboard was — surprise! — a bottle of 5mg prednisone that hadn’t expired. If your dog is on meds for Addison’s, then you’ll realize that finding a bottle of any meds is a happy day (currently our vet bill is $150 a month — the price of Percorten shot through the roof). Unfortunately, with the house move, my head was in a whirl. If only I had looked at those pills twice.
I combined the found 5mg pills with the existing bottle of 5mg pills I had. They were different sizes, but I didn’t worry about it because I knew pills come from different manufacturers and thus often have different sizes. A couple of weeks later, Shakti was shedding a lot, which I put down to the heat here in Florida (it’s July, it’s a heatwave, and we’re frying here). About a week after she started shedding, I gave her a biscuit and she refused to take it. she just looked at the biscuit like it was a brick.
That’s when the penny dropped.
Coat changes and refusing food are two of the signs of canine Addison’s disease. They are also two of the signs of too much prednisone.
I remembered last year when I noticed the same changes. The veterinary technician at my vet’s place had mistakenly filled a bottle labeled 5mg prednisone with 20mg tablets. Shakti had the same symptoms, we went to the vet, and when I left I mentioned I needed a refill of prednisone. The tech gave me a bottle of 20mg tablets. I told her that she was on 5mg, and the tech looked at the records “It says here she’s on 20mg.” After a quick chat with the vet, the mistake was realized and — back on “real” 5mg tabs — Shakti’s health improved.
So, back to that bottle. I must have figured on using the mislabeled pills at some point, perhaps by cutting them into quarters. I felt pretty bad that I had mistakenly given Shakti too much prednisone again.
After realizing mistake, I cut her dose back down to 2.5mg a day. Within 24 hours she was back to her sparky self, though it will take a few weeks for her coat to grow back!