My dog who has had problems with allergies

Cushings or Addisons and the cause and Recovery I have a 2 year old shih a poo who has had problems with allergies since about 6 months old. She had been given steroid injections 3 times since then and has taken predisone for a short period of time. I had switched her to a California Natural Herring and Sweet Potato food and hypo allergenic treats and she seemed to do fine for the last 6 months. The of course we had a flare up and i couldn't get it under control so she had another steroid injection 2 weeks ago. She then started with some shak

  • Vetinfo

    By: Kara McCarty El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    I think I understand that your dog's adrenal gland was suppressed because of exogenous cortisol, the prednisone injections, (which is called iatrogenic cushings) to the degree that her adrenal gland stopped functioning and producing her own cortisone (which is called addison's disease). Addison's disease causes electrolyte abnormalities which lead to heart, kidney and muscle problems and the inability to handle stress. It sounds like she has to have supplementation of cortisone with injections of prednisone and tablets but she should eventually recover her adrenal function and the steroids can be tapered off. It may take time but most dogs do recover.

    I understand too that you are worried because if she shows allergic symptoms again you don't want a repeat of what happened previously.

    A hypoallergenic diet is a great place to start but many dogs have atopy too. To prevent atopy symptoms you can use antihistamines such as Benadryl, Claritin or Hydroxyzine plus an omega-3 fatty acid supplement orally for inhaled allergies. Use these medications for 2 to 3 weeks before she normally starts to have symptoms and for 1 to 2 weeks after you would normally see them. You may also want to try cool water baths with an oatmeal shampoo and a conditioner with an antihistamine in it. Although cortisone is a quick relief many dogs respond to this regimen as well and it has fewer side effects. If you must use cortisone try a topical spray to the affected areas only as needed rather than oral steroids.


    Kara, DVM

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