Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Prednisone, cortizone and other steroid use and side effects in pets

Most of us familiar with steroids from the constant references to steroid use by athletes, better known as an anabolic steroid. The common steroid prescribed to animals and humans are catabolic steroids. The difference is that anabolic steroids increase the bodies supply of sugar fats and proteins and catabolic do the exact opposite. Catabolic steroids break down the body's reserve supply to be used in times of great body stress. Great for inflammatory illness, they have side effects both temporary and long term and must be used sparingly. My two experiences with steroids are as follows. I had a severe drug reaction to antibiotics in my early 30's and was prescribed cortisone. As bad as I felt from the reaction, nothing compared to how I felt on cortisone. I was listless, constantly thirsty, bloated and constipated. Luckily I was only on it for 4 days which brings me to my second experience with steroids. My first dog, Natasha, was terribly allergic to fleas, mosquitos, name it. Every summer she would lose her coat and get hot spots I won't describe here. This was in the early to mid 70's and we have come a long way in dog nutrition. But in the day, regular cortisone shots were the only answer. Cortisone administered over a long period of time had a deteriorating effect on her bladder retention and in a very unscientific observation, burned her kidneys out over time. We had to put her to sleep after 6 summers on the medication. She was a shell of the dog she once was. When the emergency clinic recommended Prednisone as an appetite enhancer for Macy and suggested she would need it everyday, I balked. I searched every avenue available for an alternate resource. I have the same issue with Rymadyl! There are so many alternative options in place, but you need a vet that will work with you. I believe that steroids can be useful in extreme situations...sparingly. Daily use over long periods of time should be avoided. For more about prednisone and other steroids read on. This is a very useful link and I love Mar Vista because they provide such an amazing library of facts for pet owners. Hope this helps!

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