Cortisone Shots for Dogs

Veterinarians provide dogs with cortisone injections, most often, when the pet is in a constant state of itching and scratching. The cause of this discomfort is most often an allergic reaction. Cortisone injections are also a common treatment for relieving pain in arthritic dogs.

Purpose

The allergic reaction that is causing the dog to scratch is a malfunction of the body’s defenses. The cortisone suppresses the defenses, causing the itching to go away. Cortisone also reduces inflammation, making it helpful for dogs with arthritis.

Function

Cortisone creates an anti-inflammatory effect similar to that of cortisol, which is a hormone produce by the body. The anti-inflammatory property is helpful in reducing inflammation and is the main reason it is given to arthritic pets.

Time Frame

Cortisone will remain in the dog’s system from 8 to 12 weeks after the injection. However, the dog may begin itching again–or experiencing pain associated with arthritis--as the levels of cortisone decrease, but are still present in her system.

Side Effects

Cortisone causes increased thirst and increased urination in most dogs. It may also cause increased appetite, depression, hyperactivity, panting and diarrhea in many dogs.

Long-Term Effects

Cortisone affects the dog’s liver, pancreas and adrenal glands. It also suppresses the dog’s immune system.

Author

Bethney Foster is social justice coordinator for Mercy Junction ministry, where she edits the monthly publication "Holy Heretic." She is also an adoption coordinator with a pet rescue agency. Foster spent nearly two decades as a newspaper reporter/editor. She graduated from Campbellsville University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, journalism and political science.

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