When the pollen count increases, does your body respond with a runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and itchy, inflamed skin? Did you know these allergic reactions are also common in dogs? Dog allergies can be caused by any number of things, including a change in the environment. A new dog food, new shampoo, or interaction with the unfamiliar could also create an allergic reaction in your dog. When this occurs, there are ways to help your pet feel better.
Short-Term Side Effects of Steroids for Dogs
Steroids are commonly prescribed by veterinarians to help with these symptoms, especially inflammation that could be causing pain and discomfort in your dog. There are several different types of steroids, each linked to their own side effects. But overall, common side effects of steroids for dogs include: loss of energy, increased thirst and hunger, heavy panting, and in some rarer cases, vomiting or worsening skin conditions.
If your pet experiences any of these side effects, consult with your veterinarian to make sure they are under control and he can keep taking the steroid as prescribed. While your first instinct may be to stop use altogether, make a call to your veterinary clinic as soon as possible. He or she will instruct you on the next steps to take.
Long-Term Side Effects of Steroid Use in Dogs
In addition to the change in energy and appetite, there are also a few side effects that may continue on a more long-term scale. Over time, the continued use of steroids in your dog could lead to muscle weakness, obesity (due to increased hunger), development of thin skin, urinary tract infections, and/or increased susceptibility to bacterial or fungal infections.
Each of these side effects could also lead to additional negative health conditions as well. For example, obesity could be hard on your pet’s joints and cause pain and muscle weakness, which could lead to low activity levels. While these long-term effects vary from pet to pet, it’s a good idea to schedule regular checkups with the veterinarian. Decide if continued steroid use is the best option on a prolonged basis.
Additionally, being aware of these side effect risks ahead of time can help you monitor your dog’s behavior and physical changes more closely. If side effects continue to affect your dog, other routes of care might need to be explored. Not all dogs are a naturally good fit for steroids. Your veterinarian will determine favorable treatment based on your dog’s specific diagnosis and healthcare needs.
Steroids for Pemphigus in Dogs
Steroids may be prescribed if your dog is diagnosed with pemphigus. Pemphigus is an autoimmune disease in dogs that affects the skin. This disease can be caused by genetics, breed, or an autoimmune dysfunction. Or, it can be caused by a viral infection or too much sun exposure that could lead to skin inflammation. On other hand, sometimes it occurs without any explanation at all. It can be painful and uncomfortable for your pet and is not a disease that can be cured, but rather treated.
There are three types of pemphigus, all which affect dogs in different ways. Pemphigus foliaceus is the most common among dogs and usually occurs in older pets. Symptoms of this type of disease include open sores, scabs, and hair loss in dogs. Pemphigus foliaceus is visible to the eye and typically affects certain breeds more than others, such as Chow Chows, Cocker Spaniels, Akitas, Labrador Retrievers, Dachshunds, and English Bulldogs. If your dog falls into one of these categories and starts to show these symptoms, take him to the veterinarian for an official diagnosis.
The second type of pemphigus is pemphigus erythematosus. This is similar to the foliaceus strain but appears in a milder form. Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, and German Shepherds typically are more susceptible but again, the disease is not exclusive to these breeds alone. Finally, pemphigus vulgaris is the most serious type of the autoimmune disease. It, too, is visible on the skin and results in fluid-filled lesions that are painful to your pet and highly uncomfortable. Once diagnosed via a skin biopsy, prednisone (a type of steroid) is often the prescription for treatment.
The steroid treatment will require monitoring and frequent checkups to ensure that it continues to work and that it is not causing any negative side effects for your dog. Many times when a dog is diagnosed with pemphigus, steroids are not a long-term plan of therapy to help alleviate symptoms, pain, and discomfort for your pet. There are other therapies that can help keep your pet out of pain and feeling better.
Alternative Types of Treatment for Dogs
Although steroids are commonly part of a treatment plan for dogs suffering from allergies, pemphigus, or other like conditions, it’s not the only route of care available. Talk with your veterinarian about all your options in order to find the best fit for your dog.
Alternative therapies focus on the overall wellness of your pet. Massage therapy and acupuncture for pets have risen in popularity due to the benefits provided. In some cases, these types of therapies can ease pain, reduce inflammation, and may serve as a complement to other types of care, including steroid therapy.
If your dog is suffering from allergies, his diet may be responsible. By eliminating certain foods from his daily intake, it can help reduce the number of symptoms he experiences. By working with your veterinarian or pet nutritionist to review your pet’s diet, you can identify which foods may be causing inflammation, nausea, or other side effects due to an allergic reaction.
Additionally, hemp-based products are an all-natural alternative that may help with digestive issues, inflammation, pain, and a range of other ailments and disorders. Whether you switch your dog to a hemp nutrition diet or introduce different snacks and foods as part of his regimen, the products will not disrupt any current diet or medication schedule.
Allergies don’t fit into a one-size-fits-all category. There are various causes, side effects, and treatment plans to help reduce the suffering in your dog.
Types of Steroids for Dogs
When steroids are prescribed for your pet, there isn’t just one type available. There are actually seven types of steroids and all of them come with their own potential side effects. Glucocorticoids is the one most commonly prescribed in veterinary medicine. You might know it better by the names prednisone or hydrocortisone. These can be used to treat canine allergies and can be administered a number of ways: by injection, orally, topically, or through inhalation.
Side effects of glucocorticoids my results in increased thirst, hunger, and urination; muscle weakness; ulcers; and the possible development of Cushing’s disease in dogs. These are more likely to occur when steroids are administered in large doses for an extended amount of time. If your dog is prescribed a steroid therapy plan that includes one of these, discuss both short-term and l