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Dogs on a glucocorticoid treatment program often have an increase in thirst and appetite. This side effect is usually followed by an increase in urination (and possible incontinence), stomach upset and weight gain. Steroids can also affect the dog's mood, making it irritable. Dogs also may become lethargic and begin panting incessantly. Steroids can also bring back a latent infection or tip pre-diabetic dogs into a diabetic state. Usually, diabetic symptoms and the other side effects diminish or resolve themselves once the steroid wears off.
Cortisone injections are extremely safe, but they do still have potential problems. If you are concerned about having a cortisone shot, talk with your doctor. While cortisone is a powerful treatment for many orthopedic conditions, there are usually other options that can also be tried. Many doctors will offer an injection as they are quick, easy, and most often effective. However, your doctor should also be able to offer other treatments for inflammation that may also be effective for those that cannot have, or don't want, a cortisone injection.