Prednisolone prescribing practices for dogs in Australia

Bonnie Purcell, Anke Wiethoelter, Julien Dandrieux

Although prednisolone is a routinely prescribed medication in dogs, there is a lack of information regarding prednisolone prescribing practices by veterinarians. This study aims to describe characteristics of dogs receiving prednisolone, disease processes treated, doses prescribed as well as to identify factors influencing the dose rate in Australia. The VetCompass Australia database was queried to identify dogs prescribed prednisolone between 1 July 2016 to 31 July 2018 (inclusive). A random sample of 2,000 dogs from this population were selected. Dog demographic data, prednisolone dose and indication for prescription were collated. Indicated dose for the condition treated was compared to prescribed dose. Multivariable linear regression was used to identify patient-level characteristics associated with prescribed prednisolone dose. A large and small breed dog cohort, treated for the same disease process, were compared for differences in dosing. Median age of dogs was 73 (range 2 to 247) months and median body weight was 17 (range 1.56 to 90) kg. Median prescribed prednisolone dose was 0.8 mg/kg/day, with most dogs receiving an anti-inflammatory dose (0.3-1 mg/kg/day, 58%). Prednisolone prescriptions were predominantly for diseases of the integument (n = 1645, 82%) followed by unknown indication and respiratory disease. A total of 152 dogs (8%) were prescribed immunosuppressive doses of prednisolone for conditions where an anti-inflammatory dose would be recommended. Increases in bodyweight were associated with lower doses on mg/kg scale but higher doses on a mg/m2 scale (p < 0.001). Overall, prednisolone was primarily used as an anti-inflammatory in this population, with some inappropriate use of immunosuppressive doses. Increasing bodyweight was associated with a small reduction in dose in mg/kg, suggesting that clinicians are adjusting prednisolone dose rates based on dog bodyweight.



Read the full article:

Purcell B, W. A., Dandrieux J (2023). "Prednisolone prescribing practices for dogs in Australia." PLOS ONE 18(2).



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