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Behavioural problems with steroids

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by Rkenyavic, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Rkenyavic

    Rkenyavic PetForums Newbie

    Mar 25, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Hello all,

    Im new here, so hello to everyone.

    Nearly a month ago i adopted a beautiful terrier from the local rescue centre and named him Alfie. He is around about one year old and has a lovely temperment, hes such a sweetie and adores both myself and my partner already. Hes a norfolk/border cross and has neverending energy!

    On Sunday morning we noticed something was very wrong with him, he had a horrendous squealing bark and his legs were shaking. We rushed him straight to our vets who did lots of tests and couldnt find all that much apart from a very small hole in his oesophagus, which she said shouldnt really have caused him so much discomfort but gave us antibiotics and soothing medication for his throat. This appeared to be working until monday night but then he hopped off of the sofa and held one of his back legs up. We rang the vet 24hr helpline and then took him in the morning, by which time he was shaky all over, running a temperature and panting as well as limping. He was immediately admitted and put on fluids and to cut a long story short, early the next day he was diagnosed with meningitis. He was prescribed prednisolone 10mg 2 x daily and started on Wednesday midday. He made such a vast improvement that we were allowed to take him home on Thursday late afternoon.

    He was understandably tired and a little stiff when we got him home, but other than that seemed pretty much like his old self and on the mend. We wanted to let him sleep upstairs on his normal bed in our bedroom so we could keep a very close eye on him and listen out incase he needed to go to the toilet (he had been on a lot of fluids and passing a lot of water).

    I went to pick him up off the bed to put him down (never normally an issue) and he growled and snapped at me, biting my hand quite hard - not hard enough to break the skin, but it certainly hurt! I left him for a couple of minutes and pottered around whilst my partner talked to him to make sure he was actually fully awake and aware. I then tried again and got bitten even harder. My partner then took him downstairs to the puppy crate where he normally sleeps and i can only describe the dog as completely enraged, he bit my partner repeatedly, tried to wriggle free and was making a completely ungodly gutteral sound. He had his steroids around 4 hours before this.
    We didnt know what to think and just hoped he would sleep well downstairs. In the morning i rang the vets to ask about his behaviour and she agreed it was completely unlike the sweet little dog she had gotten to know. She wanted to see him to make sure he wasnt in any pain
    that might be causing him to snap. She found nothing and he was as good as gold at and on the way to the surgery even when provoked by a fericious lurcher in a muzzle. He had his next steroid dose at 10am and when i came home from work at 1, he was playing gentle fetch with me in the garden and being normal. I then tried to put him back in his puppy crate before I left and he snapped again this time biting me worse then before and continued to growl. I had to get back to work, so i threw a towel over him and lifted him quickly into the crate all of the while he was barking, and making the same horrible gutteral sound. I closed the door and he continued to make the same growling sound, baring his teeth at me and swiping at me with his paws.

    I suggested to the vet that this was due to the prednisolone (in human children these cause horrendous behaviour problems) and she said she had never seen this before in dogs. I looked on the internet and there seems to be multiple cases of owners and vets seeing the same thing. Im now writing the evening after he went for me at lunch (hes had no steroids since 10am this morning) and hes been perfect all evening and currently asleep on my feet! Im really sorry for the very long message, its upsetting me a lot and i guess my real question is...has anyone else experienced this with corticosteroids like prrednisolone (also called prednisone)? I know its just not him...and the vet is recommending an MRI to investigate, but im convinced his agression is due to the steroids.

    Thanks for any thoughts or comments x :)
  2. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

    Jun 24, 2010
    Likes Received:
    I can't comment because I have never been in your situation with my dogs but it does seem to be a strange coincidence and I think I would be very suspicious of the steriods.
    How very upsetting for you and your dog.
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