Corticosteroids are often the first choice that is made in treating a dog suffering a skin allergy. They are also referred to as steroids. They work quickly and are often very effective and this is the reason why they are popular in the treatment of allergic dogs. Any scratching or inflammation is often relieved within 24 hours of beginning a course of steroids for most dog allergies.
Although when they are used properly terrific results can be achieved it is often an option that is chosen too quickly without actually diagnosing and treating the disease. This can result in some dogs being incorrectly treated for months or years before moving on to a more effective treatment. It is imperative that steroids are used correctly and at the right dose. Unfortunately that's often not the case.
Dog skin allergies can sometimes respond well to treatment with steroids but this usually only treats the secondary symptoms and has no effect on the allergic reaction.
There are some side-effects from using corticosteroids over a long-term with dogs. Part in cardiovascular system problems causing hypertension and sodium water retention is one such problem, kidney and liver diseases are another problem. Behavioural problems leading to aggression, depression, hyperactivity and lethargy can also be a side-effect of steroid use in dogs. In some cases neurologic disease such as seizures, paralysis and unsteadiness can be exhibited or even metabolic imbalance resulting in increased by the fact, fatty liver disease and obesity.
The side-effects listed above are only a few of the side-effects that may be experienced by an allergic dog. They are not the norm but they are possible results and it is better to know what you may be in for rather than going in blind and then being unpleasantly surprised.
Corticosteroids are powerful drugs, in most cases they give you the results you require as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-pruritic (itch relieving). Information is decreased as it is swelling, paying caused by inflammation and the majority of itching. Another benefit of steroids is in the initial treatment of patients with severe shock and neurological disease.
If the dose is high enough corticosteroids can also be immune-suppressive, this means they suppress the body's immune system. This is a major benefit when dealing with diseases where the body is attacking itself, it also makes the animal more prone to infections and this includes skin infections which is particularly relevant to dogs suffering from allergies.
Before choosing to put your dog through long-term therapy with corticosteroids it is worthwhile exploring alternate avenues such as a holistic approach which may be much gentler on your dog and his well-being.