Thursday, November 12, 2009

Watch out for Steroids

After putting my most recent foster, Toby, on steroids, I've learned they can definitely be a doubled-edged sword. After two days his itching stopped but shaking and fearful behavior began.

There are two kinds of steroids - anabolic and anti-inflammatory - the latter of which is most common for pet use. According to, steroids are prescribed for: allergies, spinal inflammation, brain swelling and inflammation, immune mediated diseases, inflammation from arthritis, stomach and intestinal inflammation.

Toby had a very bad yeast infection on his skin. We tried to manage it with Cephalexin and Benedryl, but found that the antibiotic and antihistamine weren't enough. We bathed him with Pyoben, and although it's more for bacteria than yeast, it seemed to offer some relief. Then we changed his medication to Prednisone and Clavamox, a steroid and a stronger antibiotic.

The switch seemed to work well, and the itching finally subsided. However, I started noticing that Toby would cower after getting about 20 feet from my house on a walk. If we drove somewhere to go walking, he would immediately want to get back in the car. He would lay in his bed and shake, and his nervous tail-wagging turned into just nervousness without the wag. I was having the hardest time figuring out what was going on until I remembered his change in meds.

Needless to say we cut his dosage back immediately. With steroids it's important not to stop them cold turkey (at least that's my understanding), so we reduced him from two per day to one per day for five days, and then we cut him back to one every other day. The shaking subsided, and while he was still fearful, our walks became more successful.

Toby is now on to his new family. His "dad" is a vet student and will surely do a good job handling his meds. Oh, and he's got a nine-month-old little "brother" now, too! This family is perfect for Toby and I wish them all well - he deserves the best home with no other dogs sitting on his head (yes - believe it or not, Bill was not the one getting his head sat on this time around!). The family who adopted Toby also deserves a great dog. I'm excited they found each other...

...And now Bill and I are off to our next adventure! We'll be picking up Foster #17 (don't know her name) tomorrow! She's a seven-month-old Boston who was dumped at a shelter. I swore I'd never take a puppy, so this is going to be a real challenge. I'll let you know how it goes. Pray for me!

1 comment:

  1. Stories about athletes and steroids seem to pop up regularly in the news. Some professional baseball players, cyclists, and track stars have been accused of — and in some cases have admitted to — using steroids to give them an edge competitively.