Steroids are always in the news because of professional athlete use, but did you know steroids are also often used by veterinarians for a variety of reasons. Pet use of steroids is often used for allergies because it is an anti-inflammatory. While the steroids often relieve the problem, the side effects could be greater than the illness.

As an animal lover I came face to face with this reality about a year ago. My poodle, Samantha, suffered from diabetes for a few weeks earlier in the year. After regulating her diet and exercise she was able to stop taking insulin doses for almost a year. At her regular check up Samantha was given a distemper shot along with her yearly check up. A few days later I noticed a large lump on Samantha in the area where her veterinarian had administered the distemper shot. Not realizing immediately what it was I called the vet’s office and explained the problem. I was told to bring her back and they would look at it. The veterinarian looked at it and said it was caused by the distemper shot not fully releasing or dispersing into my dog’s system. He then administered a steroid shot to help with the inflammation. Shortly thereafter, Samantha again was showing signs of diabetes with excessive drinking and urination. After doing some research online I found that steroids can often lead to diabetes in dogs that are predisposed to the disease. Nearly a year later, Samantha is still on insulin twice an day. I now wish I had done my research before allowing the veterinarian to quickly inject a steroid into my dog.

There are many web sites geared towards educating animal lovers on the topic of steroids. Many of these sites describe the reaction of these steroids as a seemingly instant cure which makes the pet owner happy and the patient more comfortable, but remember the consequences of these so called miracle cures. I warn all you animal lovers, do your research. Ask about possible side effects of every medication given to your animals. Also, veterinarians see thousands of animals every year, they can’t remember every detail in your pet’s history so remind them of prior complications and medical episodes. It could save you and your pet from problems in the future.

If you would like to know more about the subject of steroid use by veterinarians some good web sites to check out are:

www.healthyhappydogs.com

www.vet4petz.com

www.peteducation.com