Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Long-term steroids

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by NaomiM, Oct 13, 2021 at 11:39 AM.


  1. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    3,093
    Apologies for the new thread, can't find the old one as it was a while ago.

    Background info for those who didn't see the previous thread - it started with a sore/ulcer on Pebbles' lip, followed by what seemed to be an allergic reaction to Advantage spot-on (sore on back of neck), followed by more sores developing on other parts of his neck - old ones healing but more developing and he was scratching quite a bit.

    We've had multiple vet trips where different options were suggested, from full surgical biopsy through to wait-and-see approach. The last two visits were with a different vet, who agreed with me that biopsy was a bit drastic and suggested a trial shot of steroids. This really seemed to help him, so she gave a longer-lasting steroid shot which will need to be repeated every 6-8 weeks.

    He's much better - no more scratching, old sores are healing much faster and no new ones appearing. But I'm a bit concerned over the implications of long-term steroids (he's 8). Alternatives suggested were an elimination diet (would be very hard to do as he's a fusspot and hates having the same food more than 2 meals in a row, so he'll go out and scavenge discarded hotdogs or steal food from the neighbours) or another med called cyclosporin, but the vet said this also has side effects and she feels the steroids are best. (The vet we'd seen previously had suggested the cyclosporin - same vet practice, we just saw different vets on different occasions.)

    Any advice/experience/reassurance gratefully received!
     
  2. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Messages:
    10,364
    Likes Received:
    34,492
    Hi @NaomiM sorry to read that Pebbles is still having issues but glad there's been improvement.

    Oscar has been on oral steroids for two years now, he has Prednisolone 5mg twice a day. He has them for a different reason than Pebbles but has also had a bad reaction to a spot on and had steroid cream for that. Oscar also has a bit of a habit of itching his left side of neck behind his ear - it seems to be a habitual "itch scratch itch" cycle and that's definitely reduced since he started the Prednisolone. The vet doesn't know why he does it (and the same as your Pebbles he is super fussy so an elimination diet is out of the question). Oscar has the steroids as part of treatment for lymphocytic cholangitis (to help reduce the inflammation of his liver) and also to encourage him to eat as he has a tendency to anorexia.

    There is of course the link the cats on long term steroids developing diabetes - which I am going to talk to our Vet more about as his last bloods in June showed raised glucose level - but he isn't exhibiting other more typical signs of diabetes like increased urination, increased thirst and drinking (he drinks nothing, still wees 3-4 times a day).

    It's very difficult to know what to do for the best isn't it? You know that there's an improvement when they have the steroid but you know it might lead to another issue. I've had many chats with our Vet about what to do - and we've decided that we will keep him on the steroid as the benefit for him outweighs anything else. Remind me I said this though when I'm doing insulin injections...!

    For us, without the Pred I don't think Oscar would be here - or certainly not as well as he is. It doesn't take much for his appetite to drop to levels where he barely will eat a quarter of the daily intake he should have and the steroid definitely helps with that. He is heading towards 15 years old now (we adopted him aged 11). We are also lucky in that as part of getting to the bottom of his issues in Autumn 2019, it's led us to a place where he only sees one Vet at the practice. She is very experienced and I take great comfort in knowing that she looks after him. She's interested as he's complex (liver and heart issues, along with other stuff) - which helps I think. She has consulted with other vets in the practice when we were first trying to work out what was going on, but not since then. Is there a Vet you trust more in the practice, so that you can aim to just speak with/see them? That might be helpful rather than getting lots of differing opinions? You might prefer one Vet who can talk to colleagues about different options, rather than each Vet telling you something different?

    I can't comment on the cyclosporin but I know without steroids we would be in a totally different place. Hope Pebbles continues to improve.
     
  3. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    3,093
    @Mrs Funkin Thank you so much for the detailed reply. I'm glad steroids work so well for Oscar. Oral steroids were mentioned for Pebbles at one point, but I was glad she went for the injection instead because he's pretty hard to pill! Does Oscar take his OK?

    The practice consists of these two vets, and they have consulted with each other about it and been pretty transparent about the fact that they both favour different options! TBH the first vet is the one who suggested the biopsy and I don't think he'll prescribe cyclosporin without this, so that rules it out at the moment as I'm reluctant to put him through surgery when there's less invasive options available.

    Pebbles is already on a wet-only, sugar-free, grain-free diet - presumably this may help a little with the diabetes risk? I did discuss my concerns with the vet and she told me what to watch out for and said the meds would be reviewed regularly. Thanks so much for sharing your story - it does help with reassurance :)
     
    Mrs Funkin likes this.
  4. Jaf

    Jaf PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,394
    Likes Received:
    7,735
    Firstly the problem Pebbles has on the skin might not need regular steroids. One of my cats had a nasty itchy skin thing, she had steroids and had to wear a coat but after a few months was fine. It was months though, every time I took the coat off she'd scratch her skin raw.

    Secondly steroids aren't guaranteed to have side effects, if they do you have to weigh up quality of life. One of my boys, Choccy, is on steriod injections. His fur is terribly thin and scraggy but he's eating and his quality of life is OK just now. He would have starved to death without the steroids, poor darling.
     
    cheekyscrip likes this.
  5. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    3,093
    Thanks @Jaf . Sorry to hear about your Choccy but glad the steroids are helping him.
     
  6. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    14,623
    Likes Received:
    10,175
    I look at things like this as a quality of life issue. The steroids relieve his itching & scratching, and to scratch enough to cause sores means he was very itchy. For now his life is undoubtedly better with them. They might shorten his life - they might not - but however long it is, it will be far more comfortable for him.
     
  7. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Messages:
    10,364
    Likes Received:
    34,492
    Exactly that @OrientalSlave - we are the same here as @Jaf with Choccy. If there were no steroids, someone wouldn't eat. The fact that he only eats junk food is a battle I have lost and the fact that I've lost the often fishy food battle I also ignore. We have him with us. Yes, it may shorten his life a little - but it would have been a heck of a lot shorter without.

    @NaomiM Oscar is okay to pill now. He goes on the dining room table (like we are playing Vets) which helps - husband opens Oscar's mouth and I give him the five tablets each morning (steroid, liver, heart, BP and anti-clotting! 2 x 2 tablets, one on it's own as it's a bit bigger)...he has his second steroid later evening. So for us, oral steroids is fine. If Oscar only had steroids, I'd be tempted to go down the injection route.

    One thing I really don't like about the steroids though is how slowly his fur grows back after shaving for bloods!
     
    OrientalSlave, NaomiM and QOTN like this.
  8. QOTN

    QOTN PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    6,118
    Likes Received:
    11,581
    Quality of life is the over riding consideration. I had a cat on longterm steroids for chronic pancreatitis and he did eventually develop diabetes. That is often a consequence of pancreatitis anyway but I managed the diabetes with insulin injections and I had him for years longer than would have been the case without the medication.

    Pebbles has a different problem and the vet may decide to reduce the dose if his condition continues to improve.
     
    OrientalSlave, NaomiM and Mrs Funkin like this.
  9. J. Dawson

    J. Dawson PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2021
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    190
    @NaomiM

    Did your vet consider topical steroids/creams at the site of the scratching/sores?

    I think periodic injections would be easier than daily pills, if your cat is not easy to pill. (speaking as one whose cat takes daily pills, though we have a regular routine which makes it easier)
     
  10. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    3,093
    No topical steroids weren't mentioned. I'm assuming this may be because the sores kept appearing in new areas so it's obviously affecting him over quite a wide area. But that's just a guess. Steroid creams can thin the skin too, can't they? My daughter has one for her eczema and we're not meant to put it on her for more than a few days at a time, when she has a particularly bad flare-up.
     
  11. Jaf

    Jaf PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,394
    Likes Received:
    7,735
    I've tried a few steroid creams on Mari, he has Sun Allergy Dermatitis. He absolutely will not tolerate it and scratches his ears to death. Tried sun cream, horse cream etc. In the end if a cat won't tolerate a treatment you have to do the next best. For Mari this is steroid injections every month in the summer, his ears never heal until about November and then come April it all starts again. He's semi feral and I'm in Southern Spain.

    I've another cat, Ollie, on regular steroids for his gums. Waiting on vet for more teeth extractions.

    I think steroids are brilliant, probably as important a medicine as antibiotics.
     
    NaomiM likes this.
  12. J. Dawson

    J. Dawson PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2021
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    190
    @NaomiM
    No, I don't know if they thin the skin or not as never used them.. I am sure many medications have side effects of one form or another. Not sure, topical steroids need to be used daily or not either.

    You mentioned the neck and mouth area which made me think localized. I have not seen your cat of course and just wondered if that was an option that was less invasive and could be applied where there are sores.
     
    NaomiM likes this.
  13. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    3,093
    Thank you, will bear this in mind to ask about for his next consultation :)
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice