Steroids for dogs: In the control of intense allergy symptoms, anti-inflammatory steroids provide highly effective relief of inflammation and swelling. They are most often used for a short period of time while testing is performed and other means of control of the symptoms of dog allergies is put into place.
Anti-inflammatory steroids are usually prescribed orally and initially given at a starting dose, with subsequent doses tapered until discontinued. A dog steroid should never be stopped abruptly or before the completion of the entire series of doses is given as prescribed by your veterinarian. This is because tapering the drug correctly is necessary in order to prevent a possible deficit of adrenaline in the dog’s body.
Be aware that canine steroids are also used for other medical conditions other than the allergies that dogs have, these include inflammation of the brain, spine, stomach, and intestines, as well as arthritis and immune mediated diseases.
In dog allergy treatment, canine steroids are considered the most problematic of canine medications because of the side effects of both short term and long term steroid use. However, this should not dissuade you from the use of a canine steroid because there are instances when a canine steroid is the only medication capable of bringing quick control of the severe symptoms of dog allergies.
Although intended for short-term use, there are situations when a dog steroid must be used on a continuing or on-going basis. However, when possible they should be used only for short-term treatment for dog allergies, or other conditions as determined by your family veterinarian.
Side effects from anti-inflammatory steroids in dogs are more numerous than in cats. The most common are a drastic increased in appetite and continuous thrust, with the resulting frequent urination and unexpected weight gain. Other side effects include mood swings, which can be disconcerting, and panting. Long term steroid use can cause skin lesions and very serious changes inside the body, most notably Cushing’s Disease. With long term steroid use these internal changes can shorten the dog’s life span.
Nevertheless, anti-inflammatory steroids are one of the most important and highly effective canine medications used today. When needed, canine steroids are efficient in controlling inflammation and swelling, allowing relief from symptoms, and allowing time for blood tests, lab work, allergy skin testing, and for determining and implementing a course of treatment most suitable to your dog.