Steroids—they’re one every of the foremost common forms of medications given to dogs. But did you recognize that there are literally seven classes of steroid drugs, each of which works differently within the body and has its own set of potential side effects?

Read on to find out exactly what you’re giving your dog and what problems you must be careful of.


Glucocorticoids are out and away from the foremost common sort of steroid employed in medicine. Familiar names as prednisone, prednisolone, triamcinolone, betamethasone, dexamethasone, flumethasone, fludrocortisone, hydrocortisone, and methylprednisolone are what glucocorticoids include, and the list of these drugs is long. At relatively low doses, glucocorticoids reduce inflammation. At higher doses, they suppress the system. Glucocorticoids are commonly accustomed to treat allergies and immune-mediated diseases but may additionally be prescribed if a dog has Addison’s disease (see the following section), to treat shock, or within the therapeutic protocol for a few kinds of cancer.

Glucocorticoids are often given by injection, orally, topically, or by inhalation. The short term use of glucocorticoids is usually quite safe, but once they must be at especially high doses, over long periods of your time, or can’t be tapered to a minimum of every other day use, side effects like the subsequent become more likely:

  • increased thirst, urination, and hunger
  • susceptibility to infections
  • gastrointestinal ulcers
  • muscular weakness
  • abnormal behaviors
  • the event of Cushing’s disease

Serious side effects are far more likely if glucocorticoid medications should run systemically (by mouth or injection) instead of locally (e.g., inhaled, applied to the skin, or as eye drops).


When dogs have Addison’s disease, their adrenal glands don’t produce enough of two forms of steroids—glucocorticoids (described above) and mineralocorticoids. Mineralocorticoids are accountable for maintaining the balance of water and electrolytes within the body while glucocorticoids play a task within the stress response. Central to treating dogs with Addison’s disease is replacing the missing mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids.

Fludrocortisone may be given orally and has both mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid activity while desoxycorticosterone could be a long-acting, injectable mineralocorticoid. Both of those drugs are quite safe but can cause increased thirst and urination. More serious side effects are generally seen only if dogs are overdosed or abruptly stop receiving their medications.

Adrenal Cortical Steroids

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (also called ACTH or corticotropin) and cosyntropin are accustomed to diagnosing dogs with Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease. These drugs are given by injection as a part of an ACTH stimulation test, which determines whether or not a dog’s adrenal glands are functioning normally. ACTH stimulation tests also are accustomed to monitor dogs with Cushing’s disease who are being treated with the drug mitotane. Side effects are unlikely with adrenal cortical steroids since they’re not given over the future.


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Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids like stanozolol, boldenone, and nandrolone, while still occasionally prescribed to stimulate the appetite, promote weight gain, increase strength, and treat anemia that’s related to long-run illness, don’t seem to be commonly utilized in medicine anymore. But people who buy steroids Canada online still acquire these drugs for their other health benefits, much like how it affects dogs.

As they’re known to cause serious birth defects, anabolic steroids should never tend to animals who may become pregnant. Reproductive dysfunction in both males and females, electrolyte abnormalities, liver damage, and behavioral changes are the other potential side effects it includes.


Estradiol could be a present estrogen. Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is that the more commonly used synthetic version of estrogen. Both are steroid hormones that are most often accustomed to treating incontinency in female dogs when the safer medication phenylpropanolamine (PPA) doesn’t produce satisfactory results. Including a potentially fatal uterine infection (pyometra), feminization of male animals, an increased likelihood of some varieties of cancer, and bone marrow suppression that ends up in blood disorders, estrogens can have many potentially serious side effects.


to postpone heat cycles or alleviate false pregnancies in female dogs and treat benign prostatic hypertrophy in male dogs are what Progestins, which are steroid hormones, are typically prescribed for. They will even be used for a few sorts of skin problems or to change aggressive behavior. Megesterol and medroxyprogesterone are the foremost commonly used progestins in dogs. Potential side effects include increased thirst and appetite, behavioral changes, duct gland enlargement, and an increased likelihood of developing a few styles of cancer, diabetes, reproductive disorders, acromegaly, uterine infection (pyometra), and Cushing’s disease.


Androgens are a category of steroid hormones with sample products including Danazol, mibolerone, and testosterone. Androgens have a spread of uses like treating hormone-responsive enuresis in male dogs, suppression of warmth cycles, and alleviation of false pregnancies in female dogs, and as a part of the therapy for a few kinds of immune-mediated blood disorders. Masculinization of female dogs, liver toxicity, and therefore the promotion of some styles of cancer are the foremost worrisome potential side effects.

The Pros and Cons of Steroids for Dogs

Having saved many lives, steroids are very effective medications. However, this drug class is additionally related to a comparatively high incidence of side effects. In many cases, problems are often prevented or managed by using rock bottom dose possible for the shortest period of your time and by closely monitoring dogs while they’re on steroid medications. Should it ever be recommended for your dog, see a veterinarian about the pros and cons of steroid treatment.