Steroids are used in veterinary medicine quite often. The physical side effects are well known and well documented. In people and rats, there are psychological and behavioral side effects ranging from anxiety and depression to an increase in aggression. This is due to the complex effects of steroids on the brain that involve multiple neurotransmitters.
Do dogs have psychological changes as a result of receiving steroids? A recent preliminary study suggests that the answer is yes.
The study that was done with respect to steroids and behavior changes in dogs was a small preliminary study that will serve as a base for more thorough and in-depth studies that are needed to really answer this question. In this preliminary study, 33% of dogs showed behavioral changes. The changes that the owners reported are as follows:
- an increase in the startle response
- food guarding
- decrease in activity level
- increase in avoidance responses
- irritable aggression
- increase in barking
If your dog has shown any behavioral changes while on steroids, please let us ( and everyone else reading this blog) know by posting a comment.
Emily D. Levine DVM
Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
Animal Emergency & Referral Associates
Fairfield NJ 07068