Does your dog or cat suffer with allergies, arthritis, inflammation or pain? No pet parent wants their fur baby to endure pain and discomfort and will usually do anything to provide as much relief as possible. If your pet has been diagnosed with a painful condition, it is most likely that your vet has been prescribed steroids, anti-inflammatories or cortisone. While these medications are useful in treating pain, allergy symptoms, swelling and arthritis, they also come with hidden dangers.
We look at the side effects of steroids, anti-inflammatories or cortisone and what you can do to protect your dog or cat.
Steroids – the side effects
Steroids are medications which help to relieve inflammation and pain in pets. They are usually given to help control allergic reactions, itching, reduce inflammation and pain as well as in the case of life threatening emergencies. It can also be used to treat certain forms of cancer and help pets whose adrenal glands are not producing steroids. Steroid drugs can be taken orally or injected in the form of prednisone, prednisolone, triamcinolone or dexamethasone but also applied topically to the eye or skin area. They always require a prescription from your vet!
While steroid drugs are highly concentrated and powerful in their healing effect, they can also cause serious side effects.
Common side effects that may affect your dog or cat include:
- Stomach ulcers
- Delayed wound healing
- Thyroid hormone suppression
- Immune suppression
- Increased appetite
- Excessive thirst and increased urination
- Fluid retention (edema)
- Weak bones (osteoporosis)
- Hair coat changes such hair loss or thinning hair
- Potential to develop diabetes (in cats)
NSAIDS – the side effects
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) include some of the most common over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. These medications work by inhibiting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase that produces prostaglandins in the gastrointestinal tract. Prostaglandins cause pain, fever and inflammation and decrease the flow of blood to the kidney and liver. Pets often experience vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, loss of appetite, intestinal and bleeding disorders.
NSAIDs are severely toxic especially when used over an extended period of time (chronic use) or when treated acutely. Both dogs and cats are susceptible to the toxicity of NSAIDs and if left untreated can cause major damage to the gastrointestinal system as well as the kidneys. In some cases, they may even die if not treated quickly.
How do I protect my pet without the use of steroids and NSAIDS?
While both steroids and NSAIDs can be used to reduce pain and provide comfort for your pet, there are a number of steps you can take to offer relief.
1. Provide lots of water
Make sure that you provide your dog or cat with plenty of fresh, clean water because the use of steroids often increases thirst. Encourage more potty breaks if your pet is urinating frequently.
2. Use alternative therapies
Try other forms of treatment such as acupuncture, massage, rehabilitation or laser therapy to treat your pet’s pain, inflammation or discomfort. These forms of treatment are gentle and safe for your precious pooch or kitty without causing additional harm and toxicity to their bodies.
3. Choose natural remedies
In order to avoid the long-term use of steroids and NSAIDs, consider natural remedies to treat and improve your pet’s symptoms. The Feelgood Pets range has a wide range of herbal and homeopathic remedies that are safe to use even if your dog or cat has been prescribed steroids or NSAIDS. Be sure to let your vet know that you are using a natural remedy together with your pet’s prescription meds so that the dosage can be reduced.
MobiLive Pets is an anti-inflammatory formula specially formulated to treat arthritis and joint pain.
Treat symptoms such as increased urination with a 100% homeopathic remedy called Better Bladder Control which will improve bladder functioning. For skin and coat changes that may appear, use Skin & Coat Tonic to promote a healthy, glossy skin.
4. Incorporate Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Supplement your pet’s diet with omega 3 fatty acids which will also help to reduce inflammation and make it possible for your dog or cat to take a lower dose of steroids.
5. Never administer steroids or NSAIDs on your own
Most importantly, consult your vet first before administering any medications for your dog or cat. Very often, people think it’s safe to give their pet human medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve pain but are unaware of the dosage and side effects.
As you can see steroids and NSAIDs are beneficial in treating pain and inflammation but can cause serious side effects when used for extended periods of time. By using these prescription medications safely together with more natural therapies and remedies, your pet will be able to enjoy a much happier and longer life.