Please let us know any side effects you have witnessed after your pet's cortisone shot.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
[SIDE EFFECTS] 03/17/2013: Shayne from Raleigh, North Carolina: "I am reading about the side effects of cortizone shots. I took my cat in for allergies and the cat had no prior allergies before. He was given a cortizone-steroid he had no change and the vet recommended another to offset the shot... I figured he would be better. 2 weeks after that the vet gave him a cortizone shot without my permission.
My cat's personality has changed from being content to being grumpy... He DOESN'T stop asking for food!! (no worms or parasites) and the biggest is he can't stop overgrooming. :(
before the shot:
and this is not even the worst of it. :(
another example. :(
I wish they'd ban these from pet practices!"
[DEATH REPORTED] 02/14/2013: Helen from Santa Barbara, Ca: "If your cat is suffering and needs a cortisone shot, please make sure you get your cat an ultrasound before you do that. I took my cat for an ear infection and they gave her a cortisone shot that brought out a heart condition that she already had and she was dead in two weeks. BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!!"
[DEATH REPORTED] 01/16/2013: Kim from Baltimore, Maryland: "Vet gave my 3 year old cat a steroid shot for a skin allergy (without explaining anything) and for the first few days the cat ate and drank alot then he hid under the bed and wouldn't eat or drink for a few days. He then came out and acted fine for the next week and then I came home one evening to find the cat unable to use his hind legs. Rushed to the vet and was told that it was either a disc problem or a blood clot. The x-ray showed nothing wrong with his spine so they assumed it was a blood clot. We opted to leave him at the vet for them to try an aspirin regiment to possibly break up the clot and before we got home they called to say the cat was convulsing and almost comatose so we should come back. When we got there we decided to have him put to sleep as he was still having convulsions. He looked like a different cat laying on that table. I asked if the shot could have caused any of this and of course the answer was no but I still think it had something to do with the cat having all of these problems."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 11/05/2012: Cindy from Huntington Beach, Ca: "Our 7 lb. , 1 yr old kitten was playful and doing great, except her skin allergy. She couldn't stop licking her fur, so I brought her to the vet and he administered a cortisone shot (that was a Friday). By Monday morning I had her back in the office, as she had not eaten much all weekend, and seemed too lethargic to walk, and had vomited the little she had eaten. I thought she was going to die. The vet had her "walk" acrosss the room and she barely could, as her balance was so off, and the hind-leg where she received the injection limped as well. Her front two legs were crooked, almost like they were broken, and her back to legs stayed higher up. It was unbearable to watch.
The vet ran a full blood panel on her as he suspected luekemia (the "sluggish muscle movement"), but everything came back okay. Nothing wrong with kidneys, she doesn't have leukemia, cancer, etc. Etc. The only thing it showed was that she had an infection. (Her white blood cell count was up). Big shocker.
From that moment on, she has not been the same. He has since then given me antibiotics, oral ones, that I give her 2x a day for the next two weeks.
She has regained her appetite, is no longer vomiting, and her lethargy is abating. She does however still limp, and her front legs go into that "weak, broken legs" position off and on throughout the day, but thankfully it's not all the time like it used to be.
Sadly, she went from bring a perfectly happy, healthy lively cat, to a timid, shy one.
I would never suggest that anyone give their pet a cortisone shot. I would go for a topical solution of any kind first, and then perhaps an oral route.
I have paid over $600 and seriously harmed my cat. We are only 1 week into this, so I have no idea if this is permanent or not, but not one single moment nor penny has been worth it.
Be informed. Let others know."
09/11/2012: Anna from St. Albans, Vermont: "Be aware, antihistamine shot can kill your pet! My cat was another sufferer of deadly side effects of cortisteroid treatment.
My 17 years old cat was healthy and happy her entire life, but in January 2012 she was sick (digestive problems), so in addition to antibiotic she was then prescribed, I changed permanently her diet from groceries stores' canned cat's junk food that she ate her entire life for an expensive but better quality, grain free brand name cat food. That really changed the quality of my senior queen's life. She not only stopped to have her digestive problems but started to behave like a much younger cat. She had good appetite, no more vomiting (it happened very frequently being on old diet), had nice shiny fur, and having more energy she played and ran around the house like a kitten. If she not slept long hours daily (perfectly normal for her age) you would not guess how old she already was. Even a vet (a different one) could not believe she was 17 and complemented her excellent shape and condition when on August 13th I visited (unfortunately) him with my cat.
The reason for our trip to the vet was a small, pea size cyst (benign) my cat had on her neck for several months that she scratched sometimes to making it occasionally bleed. Because she was too old to make her operation to remove the cyst, I naively believed he might rather help my cat with some miraculous ointment or cream. He offered her Depo injection instead. He told me that antihistamine injection that would last for a couple of weeks might stop the itching that in consequence my cat would stop scratching, and it would stop bleeding, and the cyst itself may even shrink in size. He also told me that the injection may not help at all, so then there would be no reason to repeat it in the future. So, why not try? Thus, I allowed him to do that. I was wrong because the doctor did not to tell me that my cat might die from that shot
When we back home she hid in the basement and showed up only to eat. I did not bother her since I knew she was in a big stress after that trip (she was always scared to death to ride a car and visit the vet office). But next day I noticed something wrong happened to her. She still showed up for food but did not run to me happily meowing (as she always did) when I went to her during her daily naps. When she tried to wake up and jump from her bed she looked like she had a problem with her balance. She looked scared and sad. For so many years she always assisted me in the evening routine activities like watching TV together (I watched, she napped on my laps), assisted me in the kitchen, followed me to the bathroom, then to my bedroom. For seventeen years I always could count on my little furry friend to wake me up in the morning, or at least waited for me outside of my bedroom door just to run with me to the kitchen. On Friday morning on the forth day since the injection, I saw my cat in my bedroom, she laid on the chair in front of my bed. I noticed she looked at me and her beautiful large eyes were sad, they were heartbreaking sad Few moments later I noticed her painful, labored breathing. I tried to contact the vet office but I was told the doctor was off for the weekend and I was advised to bring her to them on Monday! ? I did not want to wait that long. I comforted her for many hours crying and blaming myself for the pain and discomfort she suffered. I do not know if steroids injected to her body just caused those problems or just triggered failure of her weak organs, but I know for sure she did not have to die yet. Not in such a terrible pain, not as unexpectedly. That injection ended her life. The only thing I could then do for her was not to let her suffer any more. I did not want to stress my very sick little friend by another long distance car trip to the emergency vet clinic, so I found the doctor that came to my house the same day. My cat's lungs were full of fluids. The doctor could not do for her anything but let her go. So, he did. She peacefully fell asleep. At least on her favorite couch, at least at home "Replies
[DEATH REPORTED] 10/18/2012: Ladyrockafella from Philadelphia, Pa replies: "[2nd Cat that died after having the shot] I had 2 cats with long hair and they both had skin allergies to something. My first cat (Raiden) that died had the shot about a week or two before we found him just laying in the floor dead.... Huh. This was about two years ago.
The 2nd cat (Sweetie Pie) had the shot about a year ago and it helped her skin problem and she didn't have any side effects... Last week I took her back to the same vet that gave her the shot before becasue she seemed to be irritated by the skin allergies very badly this time. The vet gave her the same shot again... 1 week later (which was last night) Sweetie Pie began to have severe health issues... I noticed that she was laying in front of our front door and when people walked by she didn't move.... Then a little while later she was dragging her back paws, then she couldn't move her front paws and till she couldn't even hold her head up. I rushed her to the ER and they took an xray and said that she had fluid on either her heart or lungs... The also said it appeared that her lung had collasped.... Well, sadly my Sweetie Pie could not recover and I would have had to spend thousands of dollars to run tests and treatment still not knowing if that would have saved her life. So we chose to put her to sleep... I don't recommend this shot to anyone... I have lost 2 cats behind that shot and I am truly devestated."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 08/29/2012: "I recently had my yorkie at the vet for what appears to be a staph infection on his skin. The first visit they gave him a 2 wk injection of antibiotic along with an injection of cortisone. That night he seemed agitated and larthigic. In his sleep he let out a gut wrenching howl. I immediately scooped him up and he seemed dazed. His skin did not respond completely and I had to bring him in for a second course of antibiotics. This time they gave me cortisone pills. I gave him the first pill and he fell asleep. About an hour later he let out another gut wrenching howl. I have not given him any more. For the two week period with the cortisone injection his behavior was anxious and he spent a lot of time under the bed which was unusual for him. He seems ok since the pill I gave him is out of his system. I will let my vet know and will not allow him to take this medication. I would recommend the pill form over an injection so you can see if your pet is going to have an unusual reaction at least you can stop giving the medication. Im not sure if it helped or hurt him."
[DEATH REPORTED] 08/24/2012: Polly from Snow Hill, Maryland: "My 14 year-old Yorkie developed an allergy to fleas and the vet gave her a cortisone shot. She became lethargic and within a few days had stopped eating entirely. The vet said it was a reaction to the shot and gave us two medicines to give her every 8 hours to ease her stomach pain which was supposed to get her eating again. But the medicine didn't help. One week after the shot she started panting heavily and we called the vet who said to bring her in immediately. But before we could get her there she died. She was truly our best friend and we miss her more than words could ever say."
08/03/2012: Glen from Alpha, Nj: "My cat Max experiences seasonal allergies and scratches at his ears. We thought a cortisone shot would help and it did alleviate the itchy ears.
Soon after I discovered Max was ill and having difficulty breathing. We brought him to the vet and they had to put him in the oxygen cage. They told us he had myocardiopathy and his condition deteriorated over a couple of days and they asked us to come to say goodbye to him.
I didn't want him to die in the vets office so we brought him home. He looked as though he was going to die but it became apparent that he had a chance.
We got heart meds from the vet (diltiazem) splitting the tablet 4 ways (7.5mg dose) and began feeding him chicken broth, then baby food and over the 2 weeks more solid foods. He made a full recovery and the vet was no less than amazed.
About 6 weeks later we tried to do an ultrasound to get a definitive diagnosis but even with mild sedation (very dangerous with a possible heart condition) he wouldn't hold still.
Bottom line; 3 years later (putting the 7.5mg dose of diltiazem down his throat 2x per day he looks and behaves like a normal perfectly healthy cat.
I believe there is a possibility that the steroid shot may have triggered a latent heart condition. I would strongly caution anyone against using steroids on their cat and to look at other solutions that don't pose a potential risk.
He is a kinder, gentler pussycat after his near death experience. I'm a bit nicer too."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 07/07/2012: Lovesanimals from Dallas, Texas: "I've had the same experience. My Vet gave my Shih-poo mix a shot for an allergic reaction to something (he thinks a flea bite, tho we treat the yard and all our dogs are on Frontline). She was lethargic, drank a lot of water, ate like she was starving, and then began peeing and pooping in the house, not wanting to go outside. She also had small scabs all over her. Thank goodness she will not have to nbe put down or die (as some readers reported) but I'm wondering how long can I expect the urinating and deficating in the house to continue. She NEVER had accidents before. Any answers??"Replies
08/05/2012: Fogetabotit from Phoenix, Az replies: "To Lovesanimals from Dallas - 1st would like to address your question about kitty pottying on floor & her crazy thirst. 2nd, have a question of my own regarding Cortozone...
I absolutely hate what I'm about to say, but your kitty very likely has Diabetes. Mine was diagnosed 2 yrs ago; I was in such denial I went elsewhere for a 2nd opinion. Both vets confirmed this & I've given him insulin injections every 12 hrs since. This makes them uncontrollably thirsty, thus, heavy urination. Before his diagnosis, suddenly my very good boy started going potty on the floor 1/2 the time. Upon research, discovered this is the kittys' way of telling you something is wrong with their health & to take action. Was terrible to learn b/c I would drench Malakai with the squirt bottle as his punishment for my neglect! :(. Anyway, yours wasn't having an allergic reaction, but probably a type of common ulcer (not sure what her symptom was). Please don't wait like I did (w/not knowing) b/c this disease damages their organs until shut-down. But with a routine, their glucose levels can be controlled for yrs to come & she will resume normal habits w/insulin regulation. I also suppliment him w/a wonderful, all natural product that helps regulate his levels from glucose spikes & crashes: http://www.vetionx.com/ . I am sorry, but I am 85% certain this is the case.
Cortozone concern - My cat has always had asthma, but has gotten worse in last few months... Every 2 wks, Cortozone shots... But he's gotten worse to the point of barely breathing & several ER visits, straight to the oxygen hose. Doc told me ystrdy morn he needs euthenized if not better in 3 days b/c he's suffering. No effin-way... We are both fighters & we are inseparable! I have been a wreck w/this devestating news! I'm here b/c I'm researching H2O2 & BHT. It's the Cortozone that has taken him to this level, isn't it?"
[SIDE EFFECTS] 06/19/2012: Maggie from Grain Valley, Missouri: "In 2010 my then 2yr old rat terrier showed blood in her urine and stopped frequently in the yard while urinating as if she had trouble doing this. I then noticed blood in her urine. I took her to the vet. He felt her tummy and said he felt kidney stones and they had to be removed. After surgery the vet prevented me with a kidney stone about half the size of a golf ball. Since then she has been fine until last week 6/14/12. I noticed blood in her urine when she had urinated in the house and was constantly spinning on her behind and could not find a comfortable way to sit down.
My husband took her to the vet 6/15 thinking it was again kidney stones. According to my husband the vet felt her tummy and could not feel any kidney stones. He then checked her anal glands which were fine. The vet could not come up with a diagnosis and gave my dog a cortisone shot with antibiotic tablets. I was furious that he did not run some tests first. Since that time my little dog has no energy, is very listless and sleeps most of the time. I stopped giving her the anitbiotic tablets thinking she was having side effects from them but still no change. I am blaming the cortisone shot. I will be calling the vet and hear his cockamamy excuse for giving the shot. I am very worried. Thanks for any responses."
05/27/2012: Sek from Los Angeles, Ca, USA: "my baby girl (7 year old shepherd mix) had bad hives on her belly two nights ago so I took her to the vet yesterday to have her checked out, the vet said its most likely spring-time allergies and gave her a cortisone shot. Today shes been panting a lot and has gone to the bathroom twice inside (which she only ever does when shes really not feeling well). Shes had bad diarrhea today as well. thinking about taking her to a different vet tomorrow to have her checked out & seriously panicking after reading all of the comments on the board."
[DEATH REPORTED] 02/19/2012: Lisa from Wickliffe, Ohio/usa: "I took my 8 year old cat Stinky, to the vet for slight hair loss around his eye, eye brow, and mouth. We were fostering a cat at the time and she had fleas. We had gotten rid of the fleas but I was concerned that maybe he had caught some sort of skin mite. The vet did a biopsy and found no bacteria or mites of any sort. He said he wasn't sure why it was happening but that it could be a sort of "cat acne" and said he could use cortizone to clear it up. I asked how often it needed to be applied and he said he would just give it to him in a shot form so he didn't ingest it. He said nothing in regards to side effects or risks.
Around the same time we dewormed our cats because of the flea problem. I noticed about a week later that Stinky lost a bit of weight (He was a 12 lb cat and looked like he had lost about 2 lbs). I assumed that it was from deworming them because sometimes the cats get upset stomachs from it. A little while later I heard him fall from the edge near our stairs. He was bull legged so I just figured he slipped. He had been eating well, and his weight loss seemed to have stopped. He stayed that way for about another week when I noticed his fur condition looked poor. I had just quit my job due to my own health issues so I had to try and find money before being able to take him to the vet. I managed to borrow my mom's care credit and made an appoitnment for him. This took a couple of days to happen. By then he looked terrible.
I took him to the vet (a different vet since the first vet's shot didn't clear up anything and seemed like a waste of time), he was well mannered and enjoying the attention. The vet said his one kidney was swollen and did blood work. They told me he was diabetic. I was relieved because he looked like he was in kidney failure. They prescribed insulin and let me take him home that day (they didn't even say they should keep him over night to check his sugar and make sure the insulin worked correctly) I was told to make sure he ate and to give him his insulin twice daily. I was also to give him Sub Q fluids. I had been giving fluids to a cat, and insulin to my boyfriend's dog before so I was okay with the diagnosis.
The next day, Christmas eve, a vet called from the office to tell me the rest of his blood work came back and he was in kidney failure. I was devastated and confused. How did the first vet not feel his kidney was swollen? She also told me that she felt the cortizone shot caused the diabetes and put him into kidney failure. About a week into his treatment he was doing alright until one night he came wobbling into my kitchen and attempted to jump onto my lap. He looked like he was having a stroke. I called the emergency vet to verify that I should give him some honey (the weak neck often a sign of low blood sugar and potassium) and they wouldn't give me any advice except that I needed to bring him in. I took him in and told them I had 300 dollars and to do what they needed to up to that amount. That was my rent. They gave me a $600 estimate and wouldn't be straight up with me on what they felt needed done first. The whole process was a sloppy mess. Finally we got the price down to $300 by not doing blood work on sight (even though they were very rude about my not being able to) and they checked his sugar levels. His sugar was down to 30 even though he had eaten each time I had given him insulin. They also said that the cortizone was probably what caused the diabetes and kidney failure. In the end I spent my last bit of money on the emergency visit over the insulin, and still had to take him back to the vet that prescribed it four hours later. I managed to borrow more money from family and got him to the vet. I told them I was almost out of money and they said there wasn't much they could do. They said they wanted to keep him over night, that his blood work looked terrible and his prognosis wasn't good. I couldn't afford to have them keep him over night so we took him home. I took him off the insulin because they thought that his diabetes may have been in control just from changing his diet. He stayed stable with fluids and food, no insulin for about two weeks. Then he slowly stopped wanting to eat. He started hiding away and even when I tried to force feed him, he couldn't swallow. I gave him fluids and pretty much had him on kitty hospice. It was the worst thing I've ever had to do in my life. There was no fixing his kidney failure and borderline diabetes.
After peeing himself twice and seizure my cat died. All of this, because a vet gave my cat Cortizone over something he called "cat acne. " I loved my cat more than I've cared for most people. My cat was in prime health minus a little hair loss that was still, probably from rubbing scent glands on things. His punishment for being friendly was death by a crappy vet using outdated poorly regulated cortizone. I would love to sue him for malpractice but in the real world, there is little that can be done to stop it. Who knows what things doctors are shooting into our children, family members, and pets, without consequence. :( I had my cat cremated at a different vets office. I didn't want any of the people responsible for his death touching him. He weighed in at only 5lbs."Replies
02/20/2012: Deborah from Chino Valley, Az replies: "Hi Lisa, I'm so, so sorry to hear about your kitty. My heart truly goes out to you, and thank you for letting us all know what happened to him.
This sober warning, which came at too high a price for Stinky, gives the rest of us the opportunity to think twice before accepting medical treatments of ANY kind in a casual manner, even if they are put out to us in a casual manner by the acting professional. Just because something may be 'standard protocol' in the medical view simply does not guarantee that it is without risks, sometimes overlooked and serious ones. Although I have great respect for the many health professionals (veterinary and medical) and the good hearts and intentions many of them bring to their work, Stinky's experience echoes the same tragedy far too many innocent animals (and people) continue to report in response to supposedly safe medical treatments.
I'm not sure there are any truly 'neutral' medical treatments, although understandably at times medical intervention is absolutely necessary. However to assume they are neutral and 'safe', when we still have so much to learn about their true safety seems dangerous at best, life-altering at worst. I am not at all anti-medicine, but I am anti-ignorance when so many innocent creatures of all kinds must pay for it.
And most importantly Lisa, it was not YOUR responsibility as the pet owner to know what was or was not safe for Stinky. You did what most responsible pet owners would do and brought your beloved cat to the profession whose responsibility it IS to know in an unbiased fashion what is/is not safe. Again, I blame the shortcomings within the medical models themselves far more than any particular practitioner, but may Stinky's sad story and sadder passing reach into the hearts and minds of many to effect the changes in awareness still necessary in order to stop this horrendous loss of life and/or health. To 'do no harm' still must be first the foremost commitment of any health model, holistic or allopathic. Stinky's sweet and too brief life and sad death was not in vain, for you have reminded us all of this essential commitment (and it's sometimes stark absence) through his experience. I'm just so sorry that you had to even go through this.
My heart goes out to you personally, as I, too, lost my beloved kitty Cody years ago in a similar fashion. A 'neutral' procedure altered the trajectory of his life so profoundly, he was gone within weeks. A healthy, loving, gorgeous kitty gone from the world too soon, and all because I took him in for a 'neutral' procedure. So know that you are not alone, and my prayers are with you as you now heal your own heart.
Blessings and prayers for you and for sweet Stinky ~"
[SIDE EFFECTS] 02/08/2012: Buster2012 from Brownsdale, Mn - Minnesota: "I had to put my mom's dog down- Buster. I took him into the vet couple days ago for constipation and itching problems. And the Vet gave him THE CORTISONE SHOT and well Buster went from being HYPER DOG to paralyzed. I think he wasn't himself- wasn't drinking nothing, had him on pain meds and I couldn't bear to watch this dog be in pain. He is or was a west highland dog and they are noted for being hyper.. And I had asked the vet if it was possible he had a reaction and they said NO....
Well as of yesterday 02-07-2012 I had to put BUSTER to sleep and OMG IT KILLED ME TO TAKE HIM THERE.... Why can't they take this shot off the market or something or sue the ppl that make it? It's just so sad and depressing to not hear Buster barking but I know he is in a better place and not in more pain and I'm not EVER giving this shot to NONE of my animals again..."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 02/06/2012: Tazzy from Sylmar, Ca: "My vet came over to vaccinate and treat 2 other dogs for ear infections. Both dogs got cortisone shots. The difference was the 2 year boxer within a couple of minutes turned pale and dropped. We were lucky and the vet was able to revive her. But we were told that she hasn't heard of a dog being allergic to it. I still believe that she is a wonderful vet but there needs to be more research."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 12/02/2011: Anne from Sandston, Virginia: "Rosie, my 6 year old Shih Tsu had a shot on the 20 of November for severe hair loss, which was an allergy, I had been treating her with chlor-tab and oatmeal shampoo, my vet gave her the shot, saying it woould clear it up in about 30 days. The hair is coming back, but she's not acting right. She whines all the time and has to go out every 30 minutes, not much urine but I don't know what else to do. The vet said she'd be okay, it's just the presence of a new dog. We've had the new dog for over 2 months and they did play together, now they don't. No more cortisone for any of my animals."Replies
01/09/2012: Mydogsaremylife from Roswell, Nm replies: "I am so sorry to hear about everyone's beloved animals dying and becoming so ill possibly due to the administration of Cortisone. My little 5 year old white Pekingese female, Ruby Lu, just underwent an injection of Cortisone into her spine due to nerve impengement. I certainly hope and pray that nothing happens to Lu Lu as a result of Cortisone. I wish I had read all of this before I took her to the vet to have this done. I pick her up today at 3:30 p.m."