Dog steroids are highly effective in providing quick relief of allergy symptoms, especially chronic intense itching. The most common dog steroid is cortisone, sometimes called “corts,” which is a naturally occurring hormone. There are quite a number of other dog steroid medicines that are very closely related to cortisone. Cortisone and related medicines should not be confused with anabolic steroids, which are used for body and muscle growth. Cortisone and related medicines are quite different and are used for the treatment of pain, immune system irregularities, ear and eye disorders, inflammation, allergies, and chronic itching. As such, these steroids for dogs are a very useful veterinary medicine. However, they should be used with caution.
Side Effects of Steroids in Dogs
The problem with steroids for dogs is in the side effects. While short-term use of these medicines very rarely lead to adverse health problems, dogs on cortisone and related medicines should be monitored for side effects and symptom improvement. Common side effects include thrust, frequent peeing, weight gain, and exhaustion. The dog’s coat can also turn dry and dull. Prolonged use is associated with internal damage including a weakened immune system and damage to vital organs. If used over a longer period of time, these adverse effects can become life-threatening. It should be clearly understood there are serious conditions and disorders for which dog steroids are the only effective treatment.
It is sensible and reasonable to use the lowest dose for the least amount of time. However some owners refuse to allow the use of this medication under any circumstances. This is not an appropriate decision. Dog steroids can bring profound relief to a dog under distress due to a severe allergy reaction. As a stop-gap reprieve, steroids for dogs can be invaluable. It can allow time for the cause of the dog’s attack to be calmly diagnosed, for testing to be performed, lab work completed, and a reasonable treatment determined. When dog steroid treatment is to be concluded, depending upon the dosage, the amount of dosage is gradually lowered over a period of time. Often an antihistamine for dogs will be phased-in as the steroid is phased-out. This allows an important lap-over time so that the antihistamine for dogs can take proper effect. While there are concerns for the side effects of steroids in dogs, it must be kept in mind that the use dog steroids are clearly desirable under certain circumstances.