Azuim and Dex: 2.5 mg per pound of body weight. So if you have a 42 LB dog (42 x 2.5 = 105 mg) check the bottle to get the strength of the solution you are using. It may be 2 mg per ml, 3 mg per ml, or 4 mg per ml. If you have the 2 mg strength you would have to inject 52.5 ml to give 105 mg, if you have the 4 mg strength you would only need to inject 26.25 ml to have 105 mg. You see, the strength (%) tells you how many milligrams (mg) of drug you will inject for each milliliter (ml). So if you injected 10 ml of Azuim that was the 2-mg strength, you just injected 20 milligrams of Azuim. I used Azium to explain this but it holds true for all the drugs. Another thing to note is try to use these drugs only ONCE. You can go up to every 12 hrs, until stabilized, if you have to, but again they inhibit the immune system so carefully assess each situation to see if the use of Azium is warranted at all. If he needs just one dose after the hunt, then give him that first dose immediately and right with his fluids. If he is really bad off, then give whatever follow-up you deem to be warranted. For follow-up keep in mind it is preferable to give corticosteroids in the morning.
Solu-Delta Cortef: 2.5 to 5 mg per pound of body weight. So a 40-lb. dog would get 100 - 200 mg, depending on the severity. Again, try to use this drug only ONCE. You can go up to every 12 hrs, until stabilized if you have to but again cortico-steroids inhibit the immune system, so carefully assess each situation to see if the continued use of this drug is warranted. If he needs just one dose after the hunt, then give him that first dose immediately and right with his fluids. If he is really bad off, then any follow-up is preferably given IN THE MORNING, so any follow-up dosages would be given when you wake up.
Solu-Medrol: 15 mg per pound of body weight. So a 40-lb dog would get 600 mg. Again, try to use this drug only ONCE. You can go up to every 12 hrs, until stabilized if you have to but again cortico-steroids inhibit the immune system, so carefully assess each situation to see if the continued use of this drug is warranted. If he needs just one dose after the hunt, then give him that first dose immediately and right with his fluids. If he is really bad off, then any follow-up is preferably given IN THE MORNING, so any follow-up dosages would be given when you wake up.
Here are a few things you should know when using these drugs. First, inject SLOWLY and if possible place an I.V. catheter in your dog and give with his ringers; it makes it easier to give medication with the fluids, and you won't need to worry about finding a vein multiple times once you have one in place. If you have a catheter in place inject all the solution over about a 10-minute time period, 1 ml every minute, down the same line you are running your fluids in. This really distributes the drug well. If you don't have a catheter, it makes IV administration much more difficult, and you may have to stick your dog multiple times to get the entire dose into him (unless you have a very steady hand and your dog is not moving).
Second, don't be fooled if your dog seems to be "Fine" after the injection, that just means it's working! Keep a constant eye on your dog for the next 48 hours. If needed, you can repeat the dose as often as every 12 hours (actually it can be repeated more often than that but if you need it more often than every 8 hours your dog should be at the vet), but in most cases after a hunt, a dog can probably be OK with just one post-hunt large dosage. If he's still a little shocky in the morning, give him one more full injection when you wake up, again IF he needs it. Don't be too gung-ho with these drugs. If he's fine and up, then leave him be and let his immune system work naturaly. If he is bad off, then he needs the full dose agiain, once every 24 hours, given IN THE MORNING, until better. If he doesn't seem responsive by 48 hours, he needs a vet. After 48 hours, if your dog is eating, drinking, urinating, and is not anemic you then wean him off (again, see below).
Third, if you cannot hit a vein at all, your best bet is using one of the high strength drugs like Solu-delta Cortef because it is better for shock than dex. You can give an intra-muscular injection of about 5 mls in each leg and give the remaining dose (if any) under the skin (Sub-Q). This is not practical with Azuim due to the high volume needed for effective doses.
Finally, do not just stop cortico-steroid therapy if your dog has needed it for a long time. If you just give one or two doses, there is no need to wean them off the drug, but there IS a need to wean them off these drugs if you've been using them for awhile. READ THIS: according to the Merck Veterinary Manual: "On cessation of steroid therapy, the HPA axis recovers slowly over several weeks, and animals are particularly vulnerable to stress if treatment is terminated abruptly. Restoration of the HPA function is best achieved by gradually reducing the dosage while increasing the interval between doses ... The abrupt termination of dosing after a prolonged course of treatment may reveal a life-threatening degree of adrenal insufficiency." In other words, you can kill your dog if you just stop prolonged cortico-steroid treatment. Therefore, you must wean your dog off of any prolonged such therapy SLOWLY if your dog is severely injured. That is, decrease the dosage by 1/2 of what it was, and double the interval time between doses, over a week or two, and then cease treatment. This will gradually wean your dog off of these system-altering drugs.
There is no "better" when it comes to these drugs, you must simply use the correct drugs for the correct problems. If your dog is extremely SHOCKY, you will want to use some form of prednisolone, either Solu-Delta or Solu-Medrol. If your dog isn't very shocky, but is extremely SWOLLEN and STIFF, you will want to use some form of dexamethasone, either straight Dex or Azium. The prednisolone group of cortico-steroids have weaker anti-inflammatory properties, but much stronger anti-shock properties, while the dexamethasone group has weaker anti-shock properties, but are about 10x as strong in decreasing inflammation. Solu-Medrol has the greatest degree of both properties. The bottom line is, if your dog doesn't need them, don't use them. If your dog DOES need them, they are best used IN THE MORING, carefully, and they must be given with concurrent IV Fluid therapy (discussed in another chapter), and weaned off of them carefully.