Oral steroids significantly suppress allergy symptoms, but their ability to do so decreases the more often they are used. Thus, a steroid injection may help your pet be symptom free for six weeks the first time it is used, but after several injections, symptoms are eased for days rather than for weeks.
Typically, steroids are begun at high doses then tapered to small doses given every other day. Tapering the dose helps your pet avoid side effects such as irritability, aggression, increased appetite, increased urination, thin skin, poor haircoat, vomiting and diarrhea, liver abnormalities with elevated liver enzymes SAP and SGPT.
Steroids can be injected or taken orally so that they circulate and influence the entire body—systemic steroids—or they can be used topically. Topical steroids are safer than injected or oral steroids because so little is absorbed that the possibilities of side effects are minimal. Examples of prescription systemic steroids include Prednisone and Methylprednisolone. Examples of prescription topical steroids include eye drops such as Prednisolone Acetate Ophthalmic Suspension (for dogs), hair conditioner (ResiCort®), or Genesis Topical Spray (for dogs).
If steroids do not relieve your pet's symptoms, including itching, look for causes that have not been eliminated: fleas, lice, mites, ringworm, and food allergies caused by flavored treats or flavored medications.