Cortisone Shot Side Effects in Pets

Cortisone Shot Side Effects

85 User Reviews
1 star (1) 

Posted by Dmbowefl (Winter Springs, Florida) on 07/15/2011
0 out of 5 stars

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

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Mike Lake (Tucson, Az) on 06/30/2011
0 out of 5 stars

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.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Vatona (Salem, Indiana, Usa) on 05/17/2011
0 out of 5 stars

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.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Donna (Englishtown, Nj, Usa) on 02/02/2011
0 out of 5 stars


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 deteriorated 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 don't let the vet give your dog anything without tests first.


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

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Dorothy (Buffalo, New York) on 01/25/2011
0 out of 5 stars

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.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Lauren (Shelton, Ct) on 01/15/2011
0 out of 5 stars

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.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
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.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Beverly (Weldon Spring, Missouri) on 12/14/2010
0 out of 5 stars

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.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
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.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Sad (Slc, Utah) on 11/08/2010
0 out of 5 stars


Unfortunately, I can verify the dangers of cortisone shots. The symptoms described here by many of heavy breathing and lethargic behavior match an experience we just had with our beautiful long haired male cat. The first time he had a bad reaction to a cortisone shot, we chalked it up to the fact that he had just had surgery to remove an abscess on his paw and he was recovering from anesthesia. However, the sluggishness and disorientation lasted several days instead of a few hours and the vet mentioned that some cats have this reaction to cortisone. He recovered from that episode but, a few days ago the same cat was taken to the same vet because he was favoring his right paw. They were unable to find a cause for the problem so x-rays and blood work were ordered. A small growth was found on his right lung but, the blood work was inconclusive so the cat was given a cortisone shot and sent home. Once again he became lethargic and began panting with heavy mouth breathing. We called the vet and were told that an MRI would be required to determine if the growth was cancerous. Their explanation was that he probably wasn't getting sufficient air in one lung and that unless we wanted to put him through surgery and chemo there may not be much they could do.

That was 5 days ago. He died this afternoon. While I realize that the shot may have exasperated an existing problem and that vets don't have options for expensive testing unless the owners are willing pay, I feel bad that after 2 similar episodes, neither we nor the vet recognized that cortisone was deadly to this kitty. We took in our beloved pet who was behaving normally except for an occasional limp and brought home an animal with labored breathing who died after 5 days of being unable to stand for more than a few seconds. I know the drug has its benefits but please be aware of the potential dangers and don't assume that a bad reaction has other causes. We have 2 cats that have received these injections without issue but, lack of awareness by both us and our vet proved deadly for one member of our household.

EC: So 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!

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Chapm (Zionsville, In) on 10/05/2010
0 out of 5 stars

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 Mike
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
0 out of 5 stars

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.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Melissa (San Angelo, Tx) on 08/10/2010
0 out of 5 stars

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

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Anne (Guyton, Georgia) on 06/03/2010

My dog Maggie had a cortisone shot 2 weeks ago! She is 9 yrs. old. She is a Chihuahua! She was in such distress from itching, she had an open would on her back flank, from digging in herself all night! I rushed her to her vet, and he gave her the cortisone shot, after he shaved and cleaned up the area, put neomicin powder on it, which it healed up in about 5 days! He said the shot would last her 4-5 weeks! Well, I was so afraid, because of all the BAD reports I had heard about cortisone! I'm still a little shaky about it, but her itching has stopped, and the only side effects that I see is, she of course wants to eat more, and drinks so much water, and will soil the floor if not taken out a lot more, during the day, and night, and she hides under the dining room table! I don't get that, but when she took predisone pills for her leg, she did the same thing! I don't quite get that, it sort of give her a little behavioral problem, but I hope that will be over soon, as the drug subsides in her after awhile. I haven't seen any other side-effect, thank GOD! I will be glad when it is out of her system. She is well of the itching, and she also had a bad ear infection when she was doing all that scatching. I don't want her to have another one no time soon, but they said her allergies were really bad this year because of the pollen rate, and said next year, It might happen again, I sure hope not! I hope and pray it doesn't. I think the results vary from dog-to-dog.

Replied by Anne
(Guyton, Georgia)
0 out of 5 stars

A week after my dog Maggie received cortisone, I took her back to the vet, and had a blood profile done on her, to make sure her kidney's, and liver were functioniong good, and the levels were normal. Thank God they were, so far the injection of cortisone hasn't damaged them, but I don't like the shot anyway! Like I said in another e-mail, she is lying under the dining room table, and urinating a lot, and wants to eat, but I can control that, but I let her drink the water, because she can become dehydrated, from the cortisone, if I take up her water! I know the feeling of being thirsty! It will be 3 weeks Sunday, that she had the shot, hopefully it will soon be gone out of her system. Good luck to everyone, and their 4-legged family member!

Replied by Rainman
(Central, Vt, Usa)

Get a liver tonic/tinture/elixir formula that contains milk thistle, burdock, and dandelion root. My dog started to have seizures after a cortizone injection... they were caused by an inflation of the liver. Did they do a urinalysis? Does she act like she is hallucinating?

DO NOT let them give her another shot of cortisone again. Change her diet to RAW... I think all of Maggie's issues are stemming from either food or environmental allergies. Could be pollen? Find out what is causing them... look into side effects of vaccination while you are at it. Has she had a vaccination within 3mo. of the allergic reactions? I'm almost positive that is what has been the root cause of all of my dog's allergy issues. Vaccinations are weakening our dogs immume system and in some cases killing them. Be very, very cautious about what medications you give Maggie. She is very fragile right now and needs highly bioavailable and nutritious food for recovery.

Replied by Anne
(Guyton, Georgia)

Thank you rainman, for the info. I will be so glad when this shot is out of her system! I don't want her to ever have another one! I have a great vet, and I'm sure he did what he thought was right for her, but at this point, I'm worried, because she does not act herself, she hides under my dining room table all night, and the comes and gets in the bed with me, about daylight! She always used to sleep with me, I want my old dog back to herself, it's like she not here, and I cry a lot because I miss the "ole" maggie! we were inseparable, now we spend less time, because instead of getting on the spfa with me, she goes in the next room, and gets under the table. I just don't get that! She eats good, and of course, she urinates a lot because of the shot, her weakness from the ear infection has gone, but getting under the dinning room table has got me stumped! can someone help? thank you, and GOD BLESS!

Replied by Rainman
(Central, Vt, Usa)

Take a look at this information on this website:

Pay close attention to the "Chronic Rabies" information. Sounds like your dog could be suffering some of these and perhaps a combination of other chronic vaccinations symptoms.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Mourning (Peoria, Il) on 04/07/2010
0 out of 5 stars

Cortisone effects

My baby Luna (a six year old cat) recently had bald patches and scabs on her face and ears. I brought her to the vet two weeks ago to find out what the problem was and the vet suggested a steroid shot and amoxicillin. My cat was sick a few times that week but I thought the antibiotic was making her stomach sour. Then after that was gone, I was back at the vet on Friday attempting to get a culture done to see if we could find any fungus on her. She was extremely nervous and panting, what with having to be at the vet again in less than two weeks. When we got home, she didn't stop panting and she took the liberty of hiding under my bed. I figured she was just upset with me for taking her in and that she would get over it. She didn't come out from under the bed to eat, drink, or even use the toilet for over 24 hours. When she did come out, she laid down by her water dish like she wanted to drink but couldn't. I brought her upstairs so my parents could see the panting and strange behaviour, and my cat went into either a major stroke or siezure right there in front of me. Her eyes couldn't focus and she couldn't breathe. When I brought her to the hospital they said she had fluid in her lungs and a possible heart murmur. I couldn't believe his prognosis: a few weeks or maybe months. I decided to euthanize and it was the hardest decision I've had to make in my life. I strongly urge any other pet lovers to think twice before a steroid injection. Get blood work done first to make sure your cat's liver and kidneys are functioning properly. I think that the shot, in combination with the stress, brought an ailment out of my kitty that could have remained dormant for years. I'm sorry for anyone who has to or has had to go through what I just went through. And I'm sorry to my kitty that in her last moments, she didn't have a hearty meal and couldn't properly breathe. My only consolation here is that she at least had me.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects
Posted by Marilyn (Signal Hill, Ca Usa) on 03/04/2010
0 out of 5 stars

My beautiful 5 year old cat was scratching under her chin and had some scabs. B___d Vet said it was fleas. Told him couldn't be as I had him on Advantage. He suggested a cortisone shot and said this could cause his immune system to shut down which meant to me that he may catch a cold. No kids in house so I considered this unlikely. 5 days later he started to breathe heavily, rushed him to the Vets and had him euthanized as he had pneumonia.

DON'T USE CORTISONE ON YOUR PETS and DON'T USE this Pet Hospital. It's been one month and I cry every single day.

EC: Marilyn, we are so sorry to hear about your cat.

For legal reasons we had to remove the name of the vet mentioned in your post. However, you can file a complaint about your vet here:

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