If you visited Ojai Pet Hospital because of allergy symptoms, your pet
probably received an injection of a corticosteroid to help alleviate
the itch and begin the allergy treatment program. Corticosteroids have
been a miracle of medicine for allergy-plagued pets and their owners,
but they do have their drawbacks.
corticosteroids can have seemingly miraculous results in treating the
intense itching caused by your pet’s allergies, the potential harm they
can cause is significant. Although, as with any drug, individuals vary
as to how dramatic their side effects will be (if any), those that do
develop problems with steroids can have such problems as increased
appetite, panting, diarrhea, behavioral changes, weight gain, fat
redistribution, a pendulous abdomen, dull dry coat, thin skin, poor
hair regrowth after clipping, blackheads, increased skin fragility and
bruisability, poor wound healing, muscle weakness and wasting. They can
precipitate or worsen infectious diseases, predispose to pancreatitis,
colitis and gastritis, cause liver problems, diabetes (by causing
insulin resistance), adrenal or pituitary atrophy, infertility, bone
and muscle problems, cataracts, growth suppression, and can increase
the risk of cancer and hypertension.
you vow to never allow the use of corticosteroids in your pet again,
please realize that with careful use, serious problems are rarely seen.
Obviously, if we just used steroids without safeguards the problems
would be greater, but responsible medical professionals insist on
periodic examinations of animals on corticosteroids and this helps
minimize the problems we would see otherwise. Most people don’t realize
that ANY medication containing corticosteroids can result in these
problems, including ear, eye and skin medications. Also, some patients
can be treated by more than one veterinarian so that each veterinarian
may be unaware of another’s prescription unless you tell them. So, we
will be very strict in our use of corticosteroids to treat your pet’s
allergy, and monitor them closely.