Steroid Side Effects and Cautions
Your veterinarian has prescribed a steroid for your pet, in addition to the many beneficial attributes of steroids, there are some potential problems associated with their use. In dogs especially, steroids cause some predictable side effects that may be worrisome to you, but do not cause permanent harm to your pet. These side effects include dramatic increases in thirst, urine volume, and hunger. Some very well housebroken dogs may not be able to “hold it” and urinate in the house. Other side effects include panting, muscle weakness, and lethargy. With long-term use, steroids can cause hair loss, and pets may develop a “pot-bellied” appearance. These side effects are completely reversible and resolve after steroid use is stopped.
There are more worrisome side effects including increased susceptibility to infections, especially urinary tract infections, which may become life threatening. Other potential problems include ulcers of the stomach or intestine. Steroids may cause your pet, especially cats, to become diabetic which may not be reversible.
Do not use steroids with aspirin, or Carprofen (Rimadly®). Give medication(s) as prescribed, and do not discontinue steroids suddenly. Please call if you have any questions. We will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.