Do Dogs Get “Roid Rage” ?

Our Shiloh is on a low dose of Prednisone, and has had some behaviorial changes lately. Namely, she gets horribly startled if you touch her while she’s sleeping, and will respond by growling and even snapping. This is SO not her usual personality, so I’m really glad her dose has been going lower and lower over time. Hopefully it’s now safe to just take her off. I will be discussing this with the vet soon. Have any of you had these issues with Prednisone in your dogs?

Fetch the Facts...

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:

  • nervousness/restlessness
  • an increase in the startle response
  • food guarding
  • decrease in activity level
  • increase in avoidance responses
  • irritable aggression
  • increase…

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