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August 11, 2008


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Giving your dog Medrol causes suppression upon its immune system. I am now experiencing the back lash of trusting Veterinarian's treatment to Demodectic Mange by using this as an anit-inflammatory. It IS NOT a treatment to mange. IT IS A STEROID AN ANY STEROID USE IS A Contradictory TO TREATING MANGE BECAUSE IT SUPPRESSES THE IMMUNE SYSTEM UNTIL IT DESTROYS IT AND CAUSES MORE IRREVERSIBLE PROBLEMS TO YOUR DOG'S HEALTH SUCH AS HIS LIVER!!!

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These eyelids are what really hurt him, though. They were so painful that we had to anesthetize him to clean them up the first time.


i would like to order cordozones shot or my dogs...how much of a dose for a 14 lbs pekenese and how much cost?


Hello, Debra Jean,

These are prescription medicines that cannot be sold unless the veterinarian has examined the dog. It's not the sort of thing that you can just use willy-nilly. They are potent medicines that can really help, but they can be unsafe if used improperly.

If your dog has a problem that you believe would benefit, it will be best (as well as necessary) for you to have the dog examined by your veterinarian.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Nanci Dallas

i have a st.benard puppy he only 1 yrs old my vet recommenned cortizone for him wat do you guys i need help here please!!!!


Without knowing your dog's situation, it is difficult for me to advise you. Most dogs can take some form of cortisone safely. It becomes unsafe when the dosage is not monitored, and the dog is not monitored for side-effects.
Ask your veterinarian for a more detailed explanation of the treatment. I am sure that he/she will be happy to answer your questions.


What are the side effects of cortisone shots. My 60lb lab-beagle mix received one a week ago. She drank and peed a lot the first 2days-I expected that. Now she has loose stools and an upset tummy. The vet says not related and I'm to pick up some meds from them to settle her stomach. After reading stuff online I'm terrified that I hurt her health by allowing this. According to a specialist I was seeing last summer for protein in her urine, she has some kidney disease. I've seen renal disease as a side effect, which makes me feel like he should have never given her this.


Don't beat yourself up so much.
Most dogs do not have any significant problems when treated with cortisone short-term.
The most common side-effects are excessive urination (requiring the dog to drink more water to replace lost fluid), and increased appetite. The appetite doesn't mean the dog actually needs more food: they just WANT more.

Excessive, long-term use can certainly cause other problems, but a single shot, even a long-acting shot, would not make most dogs sick.

It is important to discuss your concerns with your veterinarian. Sometimes it's hard to remember everything when you get there. You might consider writing down all the things you are concerned about so that your doctor can take a look at it and give you the information that you need.
Communication is a big part of what we do, and it needs to go both ways. You might even take a note in and drop it off with a request to speak to the doctor later when he/she has had time to look at your pet's medical record.

Thanks for reading and writing, and good luck.

Betty Estes

I have a 5 yr. old Pekingnese that is allergic to flea bites. Her vet gives her Depo-Medrol shots and says she needs them monthly but with the economy like it is I can't afford to take her to see him that often. I need to know if there's any way I can get that med. online and if so where do I go to order it. She is miserable most of the time because she itches so much..She's losing her hair in spots and smells to high heaven! The shots DO help!!!


I have 2 black Labs. Thet are sisters both are 5 years old. They both suffer from seasonal allergies. The Vet wants to either give them Prednisone or Depomedrol. Which would you suggest? The one had Depomedrol shot last year..it helped her itching and chewing on herself...but she got a UTI about 4 weeks after the shot. Not sure what to do here.


Hello, Shelia,

Please discuss this with your veterinarian. He/she is best equipped to advise you, as your dogs are actually in his/her care.

Both these drugs are forms of cortisone. Prednisone tablets are short acting, so you can adjust the dose up or down, or stop it if you need to.

DepoMedrol is long-acting, and difficult to know what your blood-level is at any given time, or when it's all gone and safe for more.

I personally only use the longer-acting injections when I have a patient with a known seasonal allergy who won't be needing long-term year-round therapy.

However, it is certainly possible to use DepoMedrol safely. Different doctors have different preferences in handling these situations.

Discuss your questions and concerns with your veterinarian. Ask for the pros and cons in your situation so that you can make the best decision.

I really cannot give you specific advice.

Best wishes.


I read somewhere that cortisone shots can cause cardiomyopathy in dogs. Is this true? If so, can it cause it in humans too?


Hello, Maureen,

I am no authority on that subject. There have certainly been thousands of dogs receiving these injections with no apparent heart problems.

When a bad event occurs in a patient who has been receiving a medication, that event is reported. It can be linked to the medicine, even if there is absolutely no proof of cause and effect.

Thus, it gets listed as a potential side effect later on.

If you have concerns about your own health, you should really consult your own physician. I have no expertise in this area.

Best wishes.


Can Depo-medrol cause blindness?


I cannot imagine any direct way that Depo Medrol would cause blindness.

Since it is a form of cortisone, it can suppress the body's defenses. If you had an infection that was sub-clinical and you knocked out the body's defenses, the infection could take off.

There aren't a lot of infections that go to the eyeball (though Blastomycosis is one that does come to mind).

If your pet has lost (or is losing) its vision, then you should ask for a referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist.

I doubt it is related to the drug. A specialist's exam of the eye would be the best way to determine the nature of the blindness and what to do about it.

Good luck.

Susan Brewster

I have 2 Chihuahuas, 1 weights 10 lbs and 1 @ 15. My vet gave them 1 cc each June 1st, same symptoms but the scratching, biting and pulling out hair stopped. July 2 they started again. waited until July 11 and took them back for another dose. Lasted about 1 week. I don't want them to have to take the shot every month. What is the alternative to Depo? No fleas, mites etc, just allergies. Thank you!


Hello, Susan,

The best person to advise you is the veterinarian who is seeing your dog. I can only give some general information.

It is very important to rule out other causes of itching, such as the mites and fleas that you mentioned. One also considers skin infections with bacteria or yeast.

It is possible to give oral forms of cortisone. Some dogs (20% or less) respond to antihistamines. Many dogs benefit from bathing to decontaminate the skin regularly (once or twice weekly). There are also new products that help restore the skin's natural barriers, like Allerderm, or Douxo. Oral fish oil helps some dogs.

With such a rapid recurrence of the itching, especially after the second shot, I would be concerned about a number of possibilities. Your veterinarian has probably already discussed these with you.

If there is a constant, heavy exposure of what you're allergic to, then the medicine doesn't work as well. A common example of this would be a flea-allergic dog who was covered with fleas.

Another example is the food-allergic dog. Food allergies are unlikely to be something new in the diet. The specialists tell us that it generally takes months for the dog to become sensitized to a food substance. Therefore, it is something he has been eating for some time.

Medicines rarely help the food-allergic dog. It is necessary to do a dietary elimination trial. The dog is fed NOTHING but a hypo-allergenic diet for four to 12 weeks. This might be a novel ingredient diet (like kangaroo and oats, or rabbit and green pea), or it might be a hydrolyzed antigen diet (like Purina HA or Hill's Z/D), where the protein is broken down into smaller chunks of amino acids.

This has to be done for a long time to allow every bit of the old diet to leave the intestinal tract. Most food-allergic patients will show some improvement by four weeks, but may take much longer to get itch-free.

Most allergic dogs have multiple things they are allergic to. After the dietary elimination trial, if they are still itching, one could look at allergy testing. I wouldn't go to that expense first, though. The testing doesn't help tell you about food allergy. That takes the dietary elimination trial.

Most itchy dogs can find relief, but many take continuing management, rather than being "cured".

Thanks for reading and writing.

Ajeet Kacker

Our Lab 9 years has been suffering from Arthritis for many years now. The poor boy is in severe pain for the last 4 days. The advised cortisone shots. He was given the shots but the pain is still there. Really worried for him..
Please advice.



Hello, Ajeet,

The first thing to do is let your veterinarian know that your dog is still having problems. If he/she doesn't hear from you, they suppose that all is well.

Many dogs with severe arthritis require multiple types of treatment to get the best relief. Your veterinarian can help with this.

An anti-inflammatory is the usual first step. While some doctors use a type of cortisone, others prefer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). These include medicines like Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Metacam, and so forth. They should NOT be combined with cortisone, nor with each other.

There are other treatments that can be added to the anti-inflammatory.

Other types of pain-relievers can be added, such as the mild narcotic, Tramadol.

While it can take about 4 weeks to show benefit, nutritional supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin can help. Examples would be Cosequin, Glycoflex, Comfort MSM, and others.

Adequan injections (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) can be very helpful for a lot of dogs. They are given at 4 to 7 day intervals for at least four injections. If helping, the interval between injections can be lengthened, often to a couple of months. The mechanism of action isn't entirely understood, but there are no side-effects.

Acupuncture treatments can be very helpful for some patients.

Finally, your veterinarian can also check to see if there is some other problem that is more serious than the arthritis (though that is serious enough), like a bone tumor.

Let your veterinarian know what is going on.

Good luck.


My 12 year old 40lb beagle/wiener cross has a hematoma in her ear flap - cause unknown but chicken peck is suspected... Do not want surgery, but aspiration and then a shot of Depo-Medrol is booked for Tuesday a.m. Not sure why this shot is recommended for this problem? Was thinking of aspiration only and then some natural home remedies since I'm anti-pharma to begin with and this drug sounds horrible... like all the rest.

Would you recommend this shot after aspiration to prevent blood from coming back? My vet said this "never" works... and it seems this drug is mostly used for allergies and arthritis. I have usually found good results with alternative remedies. Any you would recomment?

Thank you so much!



Hello, Jenny,

You might read this post on aural hematomas:


Some people inject the Depo-Medrol into the ear itself.

My personal experience with aspiration and wrapping, with or without injections, has been pretty disappointing.

I've had good results with a lot of dogs with the prednisone therapy (no aspiration), and with surgical drainage.

I've rarely had to do the more extensive "quilting" type of surgery.

There is a guy named Daniel Whitton who is working on developing a clamping device to keep the fluid from coming back. His work is interesting, but not commercially available, nor widely tested yet.

I'm not sure what type of alternative remedy would be helpful here. My part-time associate trained for one year at the Chi institute in Florida, studying acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine. She hasn't recommended these for the hematomas.


How long do the side effects last after a depo Medrol shot? Am I going to have 8 weeks of this thirsty urinating dog? And to be honest it doesn't seem like "increased urination" should be the side effect. How about "loss of bladder control"? If my vet would have told me the truth I would have gone a different route.


The drug will stay in the system at significant amounts for six to eight weeks in most dogs, and at detectable amounts for 12 weeks.

The side effects are usually worst in the first four weeks.

They don't really lose bladder control, it just fills up so often that sometimes they can't believe it's "time to go" already and they don't make it to the door (or you're not home to let them out).

It will get better.


On 6/4/12, my 12 1/2 yr old 17lb. Shiba Inu had a tumor the size of pecan removed from the roof of her mouth and it tested as OsteoSarcoma. She was given Rimadyl for A few days, I took her back to the vet because she was making weird noises, coughing and wheezing, he gave her a Depo-Medrol injection. I am trying to find out how this would help her condition since I all the info I find is it is given for allergies and arthritis.


I'm sorry, typo - the date of the surgery was 6/4/13!


Hello, Carol,

A malignant tumor in the roof of the mouth is very bad news. One cannot amputate the head to get rid of it, as one might with a tumor in a leg.

Depo Medrol is a long-acting form of cortisone. Perhaps it was given for its anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling effects, since it may be difficult to give pills to a dog with a painful mouth.

You would really need to ask your veterinarian what the rationale is. He/she is best equipped to answer that question.

terri rotellini

Hello, I have a 5mo old Blue pit. I believe we have done everything possable to help his itching and scratching. He has had 2 mite scrapings and no mites. We have changed his food and I even went as far as cooking chicken and rice.
Our Vet has also given him antibiotics and dog benidryl, we bathe him twice a week with oatmeal shampoo and have also used skin so soft plus other dog hot spot treatments to no avail. Would a short term acting cortisone shot or pills benefit at this time? Help! Gunner needs some relieaf. Thanks!


Hello, Terri,

I can appreciate your frustration. It would be unusual for a dog that young to have environmental allergies, but food allergy is a possibility. The dietary elimination trial should be continued for at least four weeks. If chicken was being fed previously, even as an ingredient in the dog food, then that wouldn't be a good choice.

I have had dermatologists tell me that itchy dogs of that age should be treated for scabies mites, even if you can't find them on skin scraping. Revolution (selamectin) applied three times at two-week intervals is what I have seen recommended most often, and it is what I use personally. Sometimes is necessary to rule out the scabies mites as the source of itching.

Using cortisone tablets, like prednisone, could be tried to see how much it helps, but we don't usually see the environmental allergies (dust, molds, pollen, etc.) in dogs so young. Food allergies usually don't respond to medication, so the dietary elimination trial is important.

There are no hard and fast rules in these situations. If you continue to have difficulties, your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary dermatology specialist.

Marilyn Weiss

I have a female Shitzu that will be 13 in August
and we were told she has a tumor on her lungs
Lung Cancer!! This came on so fast it's heartbreaking. He showed it to us on the exray.
He wanted to put her down that day and we said No!!!!
Two days later, since she was not suffering at all he gave her a Cortisone shot and send us home to enjoy her for as long as can be.
She is acting great. Like energized.
Pees and drinks a lot and eats well.
What can we expect next? Should we go for
another shot. Cannot put her down.


Hello, Marilyn,

It is difficult for me to advise you as there are many things I do not know here (not to mention not having seen either your dog or your X-rays).

Since she is "not suffering at all", I was wondering why she had her chest X-rayed.

If she truly has lung cancer, it is certainly difficult (sometimes impossible) to surgically remove it all.

Without a biopsy (taking a piece of the tumor to see what it is) you don't know what type of chemotherapy might help.

If she has lung cancer and the cortisone makes he feel better, then I'd say "Why not?"

How long it will last is hard to predict, depends on the type of medicine, and the extent of her situation. The cortisone may be calming down inflammation around the tumor. It also tends to just perk up appetite, relieves your arthritis inflammation, and often "peps you up" (though some few individuals get moody on it).
There are side-effects with long term repeated usage, but if you're dying of something else, I wouldn't be worried too much about that.

The best person to advise you here is the doctor who is actually seeing your dog. Share your thoughts and concerns with him.

Best wishes.

Diana Stanford

My dog has severe allergies (dust mites, grass molds, bayberry) and was given a shot of depo-medrol. 20 mg in an 80 lb dog. It has been about 27 hours and she is still scratching, licking, chewing and biting herself. Any idea on how long it takes this stuff to kick in? Poor girl has been wearing a balloon collar for 2 weeks. She was previously on antihistamine, which did nothing to help. How much longer is she going to suffer?


Hello, Diana,

You really should contact your veterinarian to give him/her feedback on what is happening.

We usually see results within 24 to 48 hours. 20mg is not a big dose for an 80-pound dog, however dogs have variable responses. We don't usually start with the top end of the dose, as it may be too much for that particular patient.

This is why I personally prefer oral medications, as they are easier to adjust: up, down, or stopping altogether. The long-acting injection is certainly easier for everybody, but it's harder to adjust things when you aren't seeing the results that you want.

80% of dogs do not benefit from antihistamines. Of the 20% that do, sometimes they will have good benefit from one, and zero from others. Dermatologists recommend trying at least 3 different ones before giving up on antihistamines.

There is a new medicine called Apoquel that works on the itch receptors in the skin instead of trying to stop the allergic reaction. Many (not all) dogs that we have tried this on are having good results. It is a little pricey, especially for a bigger dog. No side-effects noted so far, though.

Diana Stanford

Thank you for the information you provided. The Depo-Medrol kicked in around the middle of day 4. She was good until day 7, then started scratching, licking and biting again. I checked with my vet and found that Apoquel is currently back ordered until April 2015. He gave her an injection of Dexamethasone S.P. 4 mg. today and prescribed Atopica 100 for the next 30 days. Hoping she gets relief soon.


Hello, Diana,
Atopica has been a good drug for many of our patients. Like cortisone, it does have a suppressing effect on the immune system (an allergy is a malfunctioning, over-active immune system reaction). However, it is generally quite safe, and lots of patients do really well with it.

You might also ask your veterinarian about bathing to decontaminate the skin, and about products to help the integrity of the natural skin barrier. There are fatty-acid supplements, and topical products that can enhance the barrier function. This helps to keep allergens like pollen and mold spores from getting deeper into the outer skin layer.

I knew that Apoquel was in a shortage situation, but didn't realize it was that bad. We've still got some, and I hope it will be enough to get us into winter-time.

Good luck. It sounds like you and your veterinarian are working together, and that's what it takes.

Diana Stanford

Have you heard anything about Dinovite products? I checked with my vet and he isn't familiar with the brand. I have a few friends who swear by them. I've read good and so-so reviews. None totally negative. I really need to find something to help my dog without suppressing her immune system. Dinovite does offer some of the bathing products and supplements that you suggested. I must say that I've found the most help here. I wish you were a NJ vet!


Hello, Diana,

This was posted on Veterinary Information Network by one of the board-certified veterinary dermatologists:
I see patients who come in every day that are on Dinovite for their skin condition and it has not helped. But its got great marketing, and I probably don't see the animals that it "cures...." It is a flavored vitamin/mineral/fatty acid/probiotic supplement, not magic, but may be helpful for some animals. If you buy the whole package, it is not inexpensive.


Our Westie 9 kg,, has seasonal allergies. Every summer between August and September she gets skin allergies and rips out the fur around her armpits and chest area. Our current treatment (and only effective one to date) has been the Depo-medrol injections. She gets 3 injections between the months of August and September. The rest of the year she is fine. My question is; what could be the long term effects of this yearly treatment to her system? Could this cause damage to her liver, kidneys, or immune system, etc.. Is there something more effective out there? We have already tried many pill formed steroids and antihistamines. Please advise. Thank you!


Hello, Cindi,

I haven't seen your dog, and do not know the dosage being administered. Thus, I cannot really comment on the effects of your treatment.

Generally speaking, the standard dose is considered more or less safe to give once every three months. Three injections in one or two months seems like a lot, but again, I don't know your actual doses.

If she is receiving no steroids for 10 months out of the year, she probably recovers from their effects.

Allergic patients are always challenging. We like Atopica (cyclosporine), but it doesn't work for every dog, and is pretty expensive.

Apoquel has been great for a lot of our patients. It works on the itch receptors instead of the immune system. Unfortunately, the manufacturer (Zoetis) over-promoted and under-produced. It is on back order until next March (2015).

You really should ask your veterinarian these questions. Let him/her know that you are concerned and that you would like to discuss the situation.

The ideal treatment is effective, safe, easy, and cheap. Sometimes we cannot FIND an "ideal treatment" and we make compromises in order to give the patient relief.

Dorothy Scheuer

My 11 year old Shid Tzu has allergies we think from yeast.
I use Listerine on her to stop the itching, 1/2 a Benidryl and /12 Clemastine Fumarate to try and keep him comfortable. Even give him Salmon Oil. Any other suggstions for yeast infection?


Hello, Dorothy,

I know Listerine kills germs, but I'm a little worried about the alcohol in it having a drying effect on the skin.

Only 20% of dogs get any significant benefit from antihistamines.

If you have a yeast problem, shampoos with miconazole and chlorhexidine can really help (I like Malaseb). Some dogs need to take systemic anti-fungal drugs by mouth for several weeks (commonly prescribed medicines include ketoconazole, fluconazole, and terbinafine).

Bad allergies will usually require some type of systemic cortisone to calm the skin while you are getting the yeast under control.

You really need to talk to your veterinarian about this.

Amanda Marie

I had 21 pills of the generic of medrol for MY cervititis that the doc prescribed me at the hospital. I picked them up and put them in a safe, high place. They are 4 mg each and somehow my pit/lab/chow mix who is 11 or 12 months named Luna got them and I don't know how much she might have eaten. Will she die? I'm afraid.


Hello, Amanda,

I would expect some excessive urination, followed by excessive water drinking.

There is some risk of stomach ulceration. Your veterinarian could prescribe medicine to protect the stomach, such as sucralfate.

Single overdoses don't usually cause long-term problems, according to my reading.

Your best bet is to consult your regular veterinarian.


My dog Daisy has a bad rash that won't go away no matter what kind of medication we give her can we give her steroid Kenalog shot for some relief.


Hello, Sharon,
Kenalog is the trade name for triamcinolone. It is sometimes given for relief of allergic itching. The pitfalls with this drug are the same as those described in the original post. You must not exceed a safe dose, and you must not repeat it frequently. It is generally not the best way to manage the condition.

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