Side Effects of Cortisone in Dogs

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. May 21, 2017
Side Effects of Cortisone in Dogs

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We are becoming increasingly more aware that human diseases related to our lifestyle are also widely diagnosed in our pets. And in most cases, negatively influenced by our own habits.

One of the most important human problems related to pharmaceuticals is polypharmacy. This is the prescription and large consumption of medication, some of which can be very hard on the body. This, unfortunately can also happen to our furry friends.

It is imperative that the owner knows of the impact of certain drugs. Then, together with the veterinarian, they can consider what other options may be applied. To help you acquire this knowledge, AnimalWised will talk about the side effects of cortisone in dogs.

You may also be interested in: Amoxicillin in Dogs - Use and Side Effects

What is cortisone?

Cortisone is the popular name which is commonly used to refer to steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These are pharmaceuticals based on the structure of steroid hormone drugs that are produced internally in the dog's body. Which, are also known as natural corticosteroids.

These drugs are known as semi synthetic corticosteroids. In them there is an increased potency when compared to natural hormones. Furthermore, as these are administered externally, their behavior does not respond to a natural and physiological response of the organism.

There are certain human medications that are toxic to dogs. However, some types of cortisone are used for both species. The steroidal anti-inflammatory group include the following active substances, among others: prednisolone, prednisone, dexamethasone and methylprednisolone.

Side Effects of Cortisone in Dogs - What is cortisone?

How does cortisone act in dogs?

As with all drugs, cortisone interacts with a specific cellular receptor. Once this union has occurred, the physiology of the organism is disturbed. In the case of cortisone, the following pharmacological effects may occur:

  • It intervenes in the metabolism of carbohydrates, reducing the use of glucose by tissues. This means that the dog may have increased levels of blood sugar.
  • It increases the absorption of sodium, which is directly linked to an increase in fluid retention
  • It inhibits the phenomena associated with the inflammatory process (such as dilation of blood vessels and proliferation of cells) as the anti-inflammatory is more potent.
  • Decreases immune and inflammatory response.
  • It reduces the gastric mucus of the stomach, which serves a protective function. While, the secretion of hydrochloric acid increases.
  • Reduces the absorption of calcium.
Side Effects of Cortisone in Dogs - How does cortisone act in dogs?

In which cases can you prescribe cortisone to a dog?

Cortisone is usually prescribed as a drug treatment under the following conditions:

  • Diseases characterized by inflammation and joint pain
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Allergic reactions

What are the side effects of cortisone in dogs?

Before prescribing any drug, the vet should discuss the benefit-risk ratio. A good professional should recommend cortisone only when the benefits outweigh the risks. However, as the owner of your pet you also need to know what the side effects resulting from continued use of cortisone in dogs are:

  • Generalized edema and fluid accumulation in the abdomen
  • Infectious diseases due to decreased immune competence
  • Increased risk of myocardial infarction
  • Muscular weakness
  • Diabetes
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased tension in the eyeball and increased risk of developing cataracts
  • Gastric ulcer and difficulties in the digestion process

All these side effects derive from the mechanism of action and the pharmacological effects of cortisone. Another fact that is important to know is that cortisone treatment should never be stopped abruptly. It could cause serious hormonal disorders.

Side Effects of Cortisone in Dogs - What are the side effects of cortisone in dogs?

What alternatives are there to cortisone?

We must distinguish two types of treatment that can be performed with anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid drugs. One is a cortisone ointment applied topically for a few days to treat a skin inflammation. The other is that of cortisone administered orally, as a long-term immunomodulating treatment.

If cortisone oral and the proposed treatment is long lasting, it is important to look for an alternative, but this is not possible in all cases.

There are many alternatives to cortisone that are much less aggressive for the body. However, this will depend on each dog and the pathology to be treated.

If your dog has been recommended a chronic treatment with cortisone and you do not want to take certain risks the best you can do is go to a holistic vet. They are professionals who in addition to handling veterinary medicine have complete knowledge about alternative therapies. They will always consider the latter as the first-line of treatment.

Side Effects of Cortisone in Dogs - What alternatives are there to cortisone?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Side Effects of Cortisone in Dogs, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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