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Cortisone Side Effects
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Cortisone Shot Side Effects

Last Modified on Jan 05, 2015

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Posted by Ron (San Francisco, California) on 08/06/2011

[DEATH REPORTED]  I had self diagnosed my cat as havign feline asthma due to wheezing, in retrospect I am so stupid because I did not even realize that the space heater coupled with incensce probably caused this wheezing. Anyway I took him to the vet and he immidiately gave him a cortisone shot. I take Blue home he crawls unde my bed. I decided to go out to lunch, when I get home he is dead on his favorite spot on my bed. Later the vet told me he died from the stress of the visit, I call bullshit. I told him" don't worry I am not going to sue" he then offered to do a free autopsy. f him.

Replied by Susan
Okc, Ok
[SIDE EFFECTS]   Hi Ron- I took my elderly cat to the vet on Saturday, as he is almost 18 and I know I'm losing him, but I'm being selfish and doing everything I can to keep him here with quality of life. He has lost several pounds and the vet gave him a Cortisone injection. He has been under the bed since and is burning hot. I thought he had a stroke when we got home, but it wasn't until today that I realized it is the cortisone inj that has made him so weak. He hasn't eaten or drank water since early yesterday. I feel so bad that I caused this and may have to euthanize him tomorrow. Susan

Posted by Kasey (Mobile, Alabama) on 07/30/2011

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I took my calico tabby to the vet about a week ago, she was having some skin problems that were getting worse, after I put a temporary flea collar on her. I inherited my cat from my grandmother who passed earlier this year, and not once has my cat been to the vet in 13 years of her healthy life. The vet that I took her to said she was probably having a reaction from the flea collar and some irritation from the fleas themselves. He gave her an allergy shot and a rabies shot. I got her home the same day and she was fine, nothing out of the ordinary. But the past 5 days she hasn't been herself. Her behavior has changed, she only comes out from under the bed to eat, and she won't have hardly anything to do with me. I keep telling myself she will come around but I'm starting to really worry myself to death. I really need some answers and help..

Replied by Janet
Charleston, Wv
Rabies shots can cause side effects. There is a lot of information on the web and veternarian sites that show this. Lethargy, itching, swelling in the face and wobbliness are all signs of a reaction to the rabies vaccine.

Posted by Judy (Ashland , Oh) on 07/29/2011

[SIDE EFFECTS]  My 15 year old Siamese just received her 2nd cortisone shot in 2 days--this was a last ditch effort to stimulate her appetite after doing subcutaneous fluids last week. The fluids helped, but when we stopped, so did her eating. Blood work showed kidney disease, but repeated blood work showed it was stable, so she was not in acute decline.

The first shot went fine. She did eat a little over night.

Immediatley following the second shot she was not quite herself. She walked straight into her carrier and laid down--very unusual. On the drive home, she seemd to be twitchy, uncomfortable. When we got home within a few minutes she threw up violently and seemed to be having muscle spasms/seizure as she walked around for a few seconds before crawling under the recliner.

I called the vet. The assistant relayed his feedback that the reaction was not from the shot but rather the drive. She has never thrown up after riding--not even during the 5 round trips of the past 10 days. This is the first that she has thrown up during this 10-day situation of her not eating. (When we returned from vacation 10 days ago, she had not eaten in 2 days.)

30 minutes after throwing up she is still under the recliner, seems to be alert, but is not interested in coming out. Not sure how this is going to play out.

Posted by Paula Gunning (Adelaide, Australia) on 07/17/2011

[SIDE EFFECTS]  This is old news but it still bothers me. I took my then 16 year old mini foxy to the vet for itching and leg chewing and she was given a shot of cortisone. The next day she was blind. I phoned the vet who immediately said that the cortisone couldn't have caused that and it was not unusual for a dog that age to be blind, rather it was unusual that I hadn't noticed before. I cannot believe that I would not have noticed if my dog was blind. Suddenly one day she was walking into walls. My dogs live in the house and I could not have failed to notice if she was blind.

This was in November 2010 and Peggy has since died, this year in April, but I am still upset by the sudden blindness which spoiled her final year of life. She was my special darling and although she more or less learned to cope it was just heartbreaking to watch her trying to find her way around.

Maybe it wasn't the cortisone but I will always have the doubt about the treatment and whether it was the cause of her blindness.

Replied by Tracy
Cincinnati, Oh
On the Mayoclinic site it states that steroid shots in general elevate the pressure in the eyes, so it is not a long shot that your dog went blind after getting the shot. It's sad that your vet did not know this side effect of the drug.
Replied by Qc
Naples, Fl
My pug was going to a specialist to have his eyes checked and my vet declined to give him a cortisone shot before hand because he said it would cause changes in the eye that could interfere with the exam at the specialist... After reading all these sad stories I'm really glad that he didnt have the shot!

Posted by Dmbowefl (Winter Springs, Florida) on 07/15/2011

[DEATH REPORTED]  Hello my name is Doug and me and my wife had a 4 year old white Dachshund that weighed about seven pounds. From time to time she would get these marks on her legs and belly. They were from her scratching from some kind of allergie from the yard. Well most of the time a little benadryl does the trick but this time my wife felt the need to see our Vet. When she got there the Dr. we see was with other Pt. S and the staff asked if we would be willing to see the New Dr. that had just joined the practice in the last few weeks. Of course we felt if our Dr. trusted him we should trust him.

My wife came home telling me about a shot he gave our Lucy and I instintly got worried. I have worked now in a Orthopeadic Surgins office for 13 years and the idea of a 7 pound dog getting a SHOT of Cortisone freeked me out and every alarm in my body went off all at the same time. I called the Vet. S office to speak to the Dr. wanting to know the dosage and the Dr. told me this, "I gave her the standard 4cc's I give every Dog! " For the of you that dont know 4cc's of cortisone is about what a adult human produces each and every day. So what would that much do to a 7 pound little Dog? IT WILL KILL THEM!! I watched over the next 3 days my little puppy full of life stop going outside, stop playing with my 4 year old son, even stop going outside to go to the bathroom. By the 2nd day she would just urinate and deficate in the sa place untill we moved her. On day 3 the Dr. told me that she must of had some kind of immunedifficantcey and he could help by giving her a blood transfution and it would bring her back to her old self.

Well when I arrived at the office he would not get the dog from the back untill I paid the bill that he never explained to me before the treatment. He wanted $300.00 cash and only after he got paid then he went to get her from the back. Well lets just say she did not make it another 24hrs. She died in my arms and blood was coming from her mouth and well the other end. It was one of the hardest things I had ever seen a living animal go through. I just wanted everyone to know to make sure the Vet you see covers all outlets before resorting to Cortisone. This Vet was the centalized Vet that is located in my home town. So please know all your facts before allowing anyone to inject you or you animals!! Thanks for reading my personal story and I hope this helps just one other animal owner! Doug

Posted by Mike Lake (Tucson, Az) on 06/30/2011

[DEATH REPORTED]  I just lost my one year old cat to a Cortisone shot today. Took him to the vet yesterday for a follow up on his allergy condition. He had made great strides in the last three weeks on just an anti-biotic. Vet thought it would be a good idea to give him this shot. When he brought him back to us he was panting like crazy. Took him home thinking that perhaps he was just stressed from the visit. This morning he was barely breathing, so we rushed him back to the Vet. They put him in the emergency room and put him on pure oxygen. His lungs were filling with fluid at this time. They could not save him, so we had to put him down. How can he go from a healthy, active cat to this bitter end in less than 24 hours? Why is this drug still legal to use in our beloved animals? Don't ever let them inject your animal with this poison!! I lost my best friend today.

Replied by Etienne
Cape Town, South Africa
Exaclty the same thing happened to our cat!!
Replied by Mamabulls
Niangua, Mo
This happend twice to my cat, they gave them the flea shot even though they were so weak. Heavy panting also. Both of my cat died. It's hard to loose a beloved cat. I thought bringing them to the Vet would help, but it didn't. I hope this kind of experience would not happen again to anyone.

Posted by Vatona (Salem, Indiana, Usa) on 05/17/2011

[DEATH REPORTED]  While I was gone for a week, my toy poodle came in heat and one of my schnauzers mated with her and wrenched her back. When I got home I took her to the vet he took xrays, said she had 3 herniated disks. He gave her a cortisone shot, and she was dead the next day. She was the love of my life. I have been reading your posts on her, I will never let my vet give another cortisone shot to any of my dogs. Jasmine my poodle would probably be alive today if I hadn't let the vet give her that shot.

RIP my little girl.. You are very missed. I love you.

Replied by Barbara
El Cerrito, Ca
So sorry for your loss, right now my Bishon /poodle is going through a lot of pain with a disc problem with a spur on it. She is on Rimadyl & tramadol, it's her second day and she does not want to move off her bed so Dr, said I could cut out tramadol, the pain killer, to see if she will at least look alive or know where she is, and then on Monday he will give her cortisone if she isn't better. After reading your letter and others I'm thinking this is just the vet's way of getting a little bit more money before he suggests putting her down.

Posted by Donna (Englishtown, Nj, Usa) on 02/02/2011

[WARNING!]  I too took my dog in for a urinary tract infection and she was given a short acting cortisone shot for her hair loss. I was told there was protein in her urine. That should have been a red flag and bloodwork should have been done asap. I was sent home with baitryl for the infection. 3 days later she started getting the shakes and then diahrea so I took her back and they said she developed colitis and sent me home with flagl. After a few days of constant shaking and then diahrea again I took her to the emergency hospital and was told she was in acute kidney failure. After 5 nights and 3300.00. they sent her home. Telling me she had chronic kidney failure. She was on her death bed.

They gave me false hope. They werent even honest with me about how bad she was. After 1 night home she deteriated to the point that she was gasping for breath and hadnt eaten for days. The last straw was when she hadnt urinated for 24 hrs. I knew her kidneys failed. I had the horrible decision of putting down the love of my life, a little blind from birth black pug who never grew past puppy size and weighed 11 lbs. whom I worshipped. I am so angry at these vets who misdiagnose and give the wrong meds and in my opinion killed my dog sooner than need be. I cannot function at this point from grief and I will never get over losing this dog. After 4300.00 all together I dont have my beloved baby anymore. I wish I knew how I could make the vet accountable. The most horrible weeks of my life. I feel like I want to just never wake up. I have other pugs but this was the love of my life. Please make sure you dont let the vet give your dog anything without tests first.


EC: So sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts are with you.

Posted by Dorothy (Buffalo, New York) on 01/25/2011

[DEATH REPORTED]  We lost our beloved Sebastian four days ago. In November I took him to the vet because I noticed a small stream of blood in his urine and became concerned. The vet said he had a urinary tract infection and gave him a shot of cortisone and an antibiotic. My dog within a few days was panting and breathing heavily. I dismissed it because I thought it was from him gaining weight. He began drinking lots of water which I thought he was just thirsty. Eventually the panting and heavy breathing stopped. I took him to the vet last week because he was itching and scratching a lot. He also had hair loss that I noticed on the rug and on him. He also had some open sores from the digging in his skin with his nails. I noticed bald spots on his belly, rear end, and ears. He was also drinking lots of water. I would fill the bowl up and he would drink it all and Would look for more. He also went outside a lot to pee and also peed in the floor lots of times.

When I got to the vet, he said he probably had chronic nephritis and would need special food for renal failure, because he said the excessive thirst was a symptom of chronic nephritis. He then proceeded to give him a cortisone shot and an antibiotic. I asked him to check his glucose level because I knew excessive thirst is one of the signs of diabetes. He said he likes to do fasting blood tests. They made an appointment for me to bring him back on today for the blood work but he is not alive.

When I got him home after the visit, he was so sick the next day. My husband and I noticed he had thrown up during the night the next morning. He then was vomiting all day Friday. I called the vet and they told me to give him some Pepto Bismol, 2 tablespoons. This helped for a few hours but he began vomiting again so many times.

The next morning my daughter and I took him to another vet and they ran blood work and a thryoid panel. They said his glucose level was 684 and his liver enzymes were abnormal, along with abnormal BUN, phosphate levels and he was in renal failure. We left there and got another opinion from a vet at the Emergency Animal clinic. They said they could not understand why the vet gave our dog a cortisone shot in November for a urinary tract infection and that it was probably still in his system when that vet gave him another one this past Thursday. They said our dog was in bad shape and we had to make the devastating decision to have him put down with an injection in the vet's Office. I have done extensive research on the internet since that happened and I Know That the cortisone shots caused the health problems that led to My dog's death.

My husband, me, my daughters and my granddaughters are heartbroken over our dog's loss. He was our beloved pet for 7 years. He loved us unconditionally and we loved him unconditionally. He was a friendly, smart, happy dog all his life until he got those 2 cortisone shots. My heart is aching all the time and I cry constantly. Our house seems so empty without him here. I miss him greeting me at the door when I come in the house. I just don't know how I am going to get over this terrible grief. Readers don't ever, ever let your vet give your dog or cat cortisone shots. Try something natural or homepathic instead. RIP Sebastian. We will miss you terribly. I know you are in a better place. Love Grandma

EC: So very sorry to hear of your loss.

Posted by Lauren (Shelton, Ct) on 01/15/2011

[SIDE EFFECTS]  My 3 year old male cat developed a rash on his belly and ears that he itched to the point where he was developing bald patches. I took him to the vet in August in which he received a cortisone shot and amoxicillin, took him home and he seemed fine. The symptoms subsided, only to come back a month or so later. Fast forward to January, took him back into the vet in which he received a 2nd shot of cortisone and upon taking him home he immediately became lethargic and lost interest in any activities whatsoever. About 5 days after the shot, he began refusing to eat so I took him in for a followup. Vet explained that it was a rare reaction to cortisone and gave me some precsription food to mix with water and force feed my cat via syringe. 24 hours later, no improvement and in fact his condition seemed to have worsened. I noticed he was breathing short, heavy breaths so I called our local emergency vet in which they had him come in right away. At the vet, they immediately put him into ICU and ran some tests in which they discovered he had a heart murmur and fluid in his lungs. 1 week ago, before the shot, he was a happy healthy extremely active 3 year old cat, now he is at death's door and I truly believe it is because of this damn shot. I wouldn't recommend anyone treat their pets with cortisone after this experience.

Posted by Lauren (Shelton, Ct) on 01/15/2011

Update to cat in Shelton, CT: Got a call from the Emergency Vet at 6pm informing me that my cat is not responding favorably to any treatment and I ended up having to Euthanize my beloved Dexter. RIP me mew

EC: So sorry to hear of your loss. Take care of yourself.

Posted by Beverly (Weldon Spring, Missouri) on 12/14/2010

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I am absolutely terrified now that I have read all the reactions to cortisone. My chocolate lab had a cortisone shot four days ago. His appetite seems insatiable as well as his thirst. He has urinated uncontrollably. As of this evening, he is whining because of an upset stomach and threw up a little earlier. I will be contacting my vet tomorrow.

I was never told of these reactions and what to look for. I made the most stupid assumption that the vet was doing what was best for my dog. He only went to the vet because he seemed irritated around his anus (it was because he needed his anal glands drained). The vet insisted he had fleas, but after checking him from head to toe and not finding one single flea or evidence that they had been there, he gave him the cortisone shot "just in case". Whatever that meant. I will re-post with an update when I find out more tomorrow. Thanks to all those who have posted and my heartfelt sympathies and prayers go out to those who have lost their loved ones.

Replied by Natalie
Norman, Ok
I was wondering how your lab is doing? Mine just got another cortizone shot last week and is having all the same symptoms as yours did. Very worried now. I will never get another Cortizone shot for him.

I hope your dog is going well.

Posted by Linda (Islip Terrace , New York ) on 11/14/2010

My 5 year old lab mix had a cortisone shot last week. The vet detected 1(one) flea on her as she was scratching. We had given her a Benadryl tablet before we took her to the vet. He said that a cortisone shot will relieve her itching. He said that she would be drinking lots of water and peeing a lot for the next two weeks, which she does do. After reading these posts and the side effects, I really wish this doctor wouldn't have been so quick in deciding on a cortisone shot when Benadryl could do almost the same thing. She has peed in the house (drippled) and it almost seem like she's incontinent. If this dog dies or gets real sick, God help this vet is all I can say.

Posted by Chapm (Zionsville, In) on 10/05/2010

[DEATH REPORTED]  We took our lab to the vet on 86th & Michigan Road in Indianapolis, for a condition known as Cherry Eyes. The vet did not even mention that our lab should have surgery to remove the eyeglands, but rather a shot would clear it right up. Our dog died two days later.

Replied by Bb
Atlanta, Ga Usa
Heartfelt sorrow upon your loss. I know your heart is broken. Did you have another vet do a necropsy? I would. Sounds like someone was negligent in treatment. This happens all too often. Search the internet for other cases. Again, sorry for your loss.
Replied by Ecr
W Milford, Nj Usa
I am so sorry you lost your pet. I'm writing only because I lived in Zionsville for 10 years and also used a vet on 86th & Michigan to treat my dog. We did x-rays and shots of penicillin for months with no long lasting effect until I discovered a brilliant vet right in my own backyard (Zionsville. ) At the time, Dr. Graves ran a private practice nearby the grocery/shopping center. After 30 minutes describing the symptoms he knew what the problem was - ran a blood test to confirm, and my dog lived a happy, healthy life thereafter. Should you have or get another pet - find Dr. Graves for care - he is amazing!
Replied by Mike
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
[DEATH REPORTED]   For every reader that reads this LISTEN GOOD, if the doctor say your dog needs a steriod shot don't do! My little baby died 17 hours after receiving one of these shot after I know of recovering from dehydrating losing 5 lbs was full of life running around and playing only to died. He gave her a ACTH TEST saying she had addison disease. Vaccinations are weakening our dogs immume system and in some cases killing them. Mine died and I miss her so bad she was taken from me too soon she was 9 years old. I hope this will help out the next dog or cat that goes though this I hate to see another animal died from this shot.

Posted by Melissa (San Angelo, Tx) on 08/10/2010

[SIDE EFFECTS]  My 14 year old cat was taken in for a bad tooth. Vet said she seems to have deveoped and allergic reaction to the enamel on her back teeth. She was given a cortisone shot and we were told to bring her back in 2 weeks for recheck. After 2 weeks, the rash was still there and we were told the back teeth needed to come out. We were scheduled to come back in 2 more weeks and given another cortisone shot. Within 3 days of shot, my cat began vomitting. She has a sensitive stomach so I didn't get too concerned. By day 5 very lethargic and dehydrated. I took her to the vet and they put her on IV fluids for 3 days where she did eat. Her liver enzymes were high, her white cells were elevated, and her blood sugar was high. We were told it was probably a reaction to the cortisone shot. She has been home for 24 hours now and is a completely different cat than before the shot. She is also obviously anemic which I have an antibiotic for. Is it possible that she may become more herself after Cortisone shot wears off or am I probably seeing permanent liver damage from the shot that she will not recover from?

Replied by Kathymac21
Concord, Nc
You said you had antibiotics for the anemia. The only thing that would help anemia would be a blood transfusion or a drug to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. Anemia is when there are is a lack or a normal level or red cells present. In cats, and I guess dogs too, you can look at their gums and they will appear greyish instead of the normal pink color. Antibiotics are given for infection from bacteria. Sometimes they might be given to prevent a secondary infection if the animal has a fresh wound or a viral respiratory infection. A viral respiratory infection can turn into a bacterial respiratory infection sometimes. Viruses are not affected by antibiotics. That is why a common cold is not treated with antibiotics. The flu is caused by a virus. Tamiflu is given because it has anti-viral properties. If it is not evident if an infection is viral or bacterial, then antibiotics are given.

I am a microbiologist and it is not good to over-use antibiotics. This has lead to all these super bugs, like MRSA. Also, if you or your pet are given antibiotics, be sure to take them all as prescribed. If not, then you may not kill them all off and the ones that survive can become resistant to the antibiotic that it was exposed to.

Hope this helps.

Sorry about your experience. My cat just got a steroid shot for what first appeared to be ringworm, which is caused by a fungus. When the fungal culture came up negative, we had to do something different. She has been vomiting some. It has been 2 days. The fungal and antibiotics were not working. It seemed they might be helping at first, but as soon as we stopped, the area got worse. Hope this helps and does not kill the poor kitty.

Replied by Samantha
Barneveld, Gelderland, Netherlands
Anemia is a condition that can also be caused by ticks. In that case, the tick infects the dog or cat with a parasite in the blood. This parasite, ehrlichia, causes the red blood cells to drop

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