Corticosteroids are used in both human and veterinary medicine in both topical and oral formulations. Topical steroid creams or ointments, which generally contain common ingredients like betamethasone, hydrocortisone, and triamcinolone, have a wide margin of safety when ingested. Accidental ingestion in dogs and cats can result in mild signs of gastrointestinal distress (., vomiting, diarrhea); this is typically secondary to the petroleum-based carrier in the topical form. However, some topical creams are contain more dangerous active ingredients which can be fatal when ingested (., calcipotriene, 5-FU, diclofenac, etc.); when in doubt, confirm the active ingredients with your pharmacy or by calling Pet Poison Helpline. For the oral form of corticosteroids, toxic ingestions can result in stomach ulcers, gastroenteritis, and rarely, stomach rupture. Clinical signs of corticosteroid toxicity includes vomiting, bloody vomitus, black-tarry stool, diarrhea (with or without blood), inappetance, abdominal pain, increased thirst/urination/appetite, and excessive panting.
Dog food itself can have a positive impact on dogs that are suffering from arthritis. In a clinical study, dogs that were fed a diet specifically formulated for dogs with OA (osteoarthritis) such as Hill's Prescription Diet j/d , a food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids , showed improvement over dogs that had a similar arthritic condition, but that were fed an ordinary diet. The results of the study showed that "more dogs in the test group had a reduction in pain at the end of the 90-day trial." 82% of the dogs in the trial that received the new diet showed improvement.