View Full Version : Hair loss related to prednisone

Love my Cavaliers
1st February 2010, 04:36 AM
Riley has been on 5 mg prednisone daily for SM for aout 8 months. While it has been a miracle drug for her in terms of alleviating most of her symptoms, I am starting to see side effects. She has lost almost all of her chest fur (what she has left is really wispy) and the grromer said she was pulling out clumps of hair several weeks ago. Her tail is also much thinner. And the rest of her fur is soooooo dry and not silky like it used to be. In addition to the prednisone, I also give her Denamarin to support her liver and 1000 mg Omega 3 fish oil and 30 mg CoQ10. Is there anything else I could be giving her? The groomer uses a good quality moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Thanks.

10th February 2010, 07:30 PM
I have noticed the same problem with Jade. Her hair is becoming very thin and I have reduced her prednisone to half a tablet per day. If all goes well I will try alternate days. With a third Neurontin 100mg, she has really been doing well. I would love any advice regarding hair loss too.


Love my Cavaliers
10th February 2010, 09:18 PM
I wish I could cut her dosage back by half, but she is too unstable. Sometimes I even have to go up to 7.5 mg for a few days if she's really off-balance. Poor thing. But she is really happy and her vestibular problems don't seem to bother her (just me!!)

heather r
10th February 2010, 09:32 PM
Our last golden retriever, who had terrible allergies, was on prednisone for years and had no hair on her tail:eek:It wasn't a pretty sight but along with allergy shots and frequent baths kept her as comfortable as possible.

Heather R

11th February 2010, 02:44 AM
Does she have any other symptoms of Cushings? Have you talked with your vet about iatrogenic hyperadrenocorticism, which is likely what is going on? I would want to have a long discussion about the ramifications of untreated Cushings versus control of the SM symptoms. Any way you could go to alternate day therapy?


11th February 2010, 04:30 PM
My golden was on this for allergies for several years and her coat was horrible-thin, dry. I tried every supplement possible. When she came off because of iatrogenic cushings, her coat became gorgeous-I was so delighted i paraded her everywhere. Funny thing, the allergies came back but were easily treated with Benedryl (Benedryl had not worked b/4). Freckles is on Temaril P and early fall his coat began to look sparse and very coarse and became better as soon as he was off the Temaril - this year I'll find something else to alleviate his allergies.

Love my Cavaliers
11th February 2010, 08:41 PM
So far Riley doesn't exhibit any other signs of Cushings (other than the hair loss) - no frequent urination, no increased thirst, no pot-belly (she's very thin), and no skin problems other than extreme dryness. She gets blood work done every 4 months, last time was in December and at that time everything was normal. However, I don't know if there is a specific blood test for Cushing's that they did not do. I will ask about it when I take her back to the neurologist in March. Thanks for the suggestion.

15th February 2010, 10:51 PM
Blood chemistry screening does not test for Cushings. Tests to diagnose Cushings include:

Urine Cortisol:Creatinine Ratio (screening test)
Low Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Test
ACTH Stimulation Test

Here is a good link on Cushings:


What concerns me about Cushings isn't hair loss or increased drinking/urinating or appetite increase, but other serious consequences:

"Left untreated, Cushing's disease will progress. As excess cortisol is immunosuppressive, Cushingoid dogs are prone to various infections. They are also predisposed to developing hypothyroidism, pancreatitis, diabetes, seizures, hypertension, congestive heart failure, blood clots (thromboembolism), and liver and kidney failure." - Copied from above site.

I had no idea that Cushings could cause heart failure and pulmonary hypertension until a friend's Maltese went into heart failure with severe pulmonary hypertension. My cardiologist found that the dog had undiagnosed Cushings and the pulmonary thromboemboli (blood clots) which resulted caused his heart failure and severe lung disease. The first cardiologist missed it and simply thought the heart failure was due to acquired valvular disease but the cause was actually Cushings. There have also been many dogs with kidney failure as a result of Cushings that I've known in my kidney disease yahoo group.

I understand your dilemma regarding quality of life with the SM symptoms, but (as I said earlier) I'd want to very clearly understand all of the possible ramifications of untreated Cushings since daily prednisone is likely to cause this disease. And I'd want to figure out how often to test and how to monitor. This is why long term steroid therapy is done with alternate day dosing.


It may be (I don't know her weight) that the vet feels that the dose is low enough not to be immunosuppressive - but I'd want to have a discussion about all the pros and cons.

Love my Cavaliers
16th February 2010, 12:27 AM
Thanks Pat. It's good to be armed with information for her next appointment. She is on 5 mg/day and weighs 12 pounds. She's a petite one.

Cathy Moon
16th February 2010, 04:15 AM
You might want to try 3 V Caps for small dogs:
//http://www.amazon.com/3V-Caps-Small-Medium-Breeds/dp/B0002TR5ES/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1266289029&sr=1-7 (http://www.amazon.com/3V-Caps-Small-Medium-Breeds/dp/B0002TR5ES/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1266289029&sr=1-7)

Try using them for several months. The vet recommended this for two of my dogs in the past, and it really improved their coats - fish oil doesn't work like 3 V does. The 3 V caps are much more expensive at the vets, but can be bought for reasonable prices online.

Also, 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of raw wheat germ in her food daily. Keep the raw wheat germ in the freezer to keep it fresh. http://www.bobsredmill.com/wheat-germ.html

Love my Cavaliers
16th February 2010, 03:05 PM
Thanks Cathy. I'll try both of those. And thanks for the links also.