Examples of Steroids Used for Pets
Pain medication for pets can be applied topically to your pet's eye and skin for pain relief (as a steroid cream), taken orally, or as a steroid injection into the joints and muscles. Oral or injectible forms of prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone, and triamcinolone are used to treat pets with bone and joint pain. These medications require a prescription.
Pet Health Problems Helped with Steroids
Steroids affect every organ, and possibly every cell in your pet's body. They are used to control inflammation, allergic reactions, and pain. They can be used for emergency treatment when your pet's system is overreacting and causing life-threatening swelling, and for routine use to control pain, allergic symptoms, itching, and swelling. Steroids are routinely used to supplement pets whose adrenal glands aren't producing steroids; and they can be used to treat some forms of cancer.
|Steroids (Pain Relief Medications): for Emergencies
|Bone and joint:
Brain and nervous system:
||Circular skin rash
Increased intracranial pressure
Gastric dilatation and volvulus, endotoxic shock
Acute respiratory distress syndrome, aspiration pneumonia
|Steroids: For all Types of Inflammation
Bones, joints, and spine:
Brain and nervous system:
Lungs and trachea:
Mouth, stomach, intestines:
Feline lower urinary tract disease (flutd)
Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, spondylosis deformans, hip and elbow dysplasia, dislocating knee cap (luxating patella), abnormal joint cartilage development (osteochondritis dissecans or OCD), spinal arthritis (spondylosis deformans), intervertebral disc disease
Meningitis, encephalitis, hydrocephalus, peripheral neuropathies, trigeminal neuritis
Anterior uveitis, conjunctivitis, keratitis
Otitis externa, otitis media
Chronic active hepatitis, copper-induced hepatopathy
Chronic bronchitis, asthma, pneumonitis, collapsing trachea
Gingivitis eosinophilic gastroenteritis, colitis
Pancreatitis, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
Steroids: The Good and the Bad
Steroids are powerful healing drugs. Like any powerful drug they can also cause harm. Some steroid side effects that may occur in your pet include stomach ulcers, delayed wound healing, thyroid hormone suppression, immune suppression so that the body doesn't fight infection well, high blood sugar, and swollen liver. Many pets will drink more and urinate more (polydipsia and polyuria or PUPD). Some pets will have an increased appetite, and some will have fluid retention (edema).
With long-term use, your pet's bones may weaken (osteoporosis), skin may thin and hair may fall out (alopecia). If given to pregnant pets, fetuses can be malformed, or they may be miscarried. Steroids can affect your pet's sense of well-being. Some pets feel happy, and others become irritable.
Short-acting (less than 12 hours duration)
|Intermediate-acting (from 12-36 hours duration)
|Long-acting (from 36-72 hours duration)
* Low potency ** Medium potency *** High potency
Prednisone vs. Prednisolone
Prednisolone does not have to be converted by the liver to an active molecule, but Prednisone does. For pets with liver failure, Prednisolone is preferred.