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Cortisone Shots for Dogs

| Updated September 26, 2017

Veterinarians provide dogs with cortisone injections, most often, when the pet is in a constant state of itching and scratching. The cause of this discomfort is most often an allergic reaction. Cortisone injections are also a common treatment for relieving pain in arthritic dogs.


The allergic reaction that is causing the dog to scratch is a malfunction of the body’s defenses. The cortisone suppresses the defenses, causing the itching to go away. Cortisone also reduces inflammation, making it helpful for dogs with arthritis.


Cortisone creates an anti-inflammatory effect similar to that of cortisol, which is a hormone produce by the body. The anti-inflammatory property is helpful in reducing inflammation and is the main reason it is given to arthritic pets.

Time Frame

Cortisone will remain in the dog’s system from 8 to 12 weeks after the injection. However, the dog may begin itching again–or experiencing pain associated with arthritis--as the levels of cortisone decrease, but are still present in her system.

Side Effects

Cortisone causes increased thirst and increased urination in most dogs. It may also cause increased appetite, depression, hyperactivity, panting and diarrhea in many dogs.

Long-Term Effects

Cortisone affects the dog’s liver, pancreas and adrenal glands. It also suppresses the dog’s immune system.